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December 2, 2021

11/11/2021 10:17:00 AM
Wolves advance to state with 3-1 win over Cardinals

Sometimes you have to look past what seems to be the obvious to actually find the real story.
The obvious is that the Highland Cardinals did not win the WIAA Division 4 Sectional title Saturday and will not be advancing to state.
Were there tears?
Of course.
But there will also be the memories of the first Six River West title in 10 years, the first Regional title in two tries, three wins over Potosi in all three matches (one for the conference title and one for the Regional title) and the first win over River Ridge in 12 years.
There is also the impact of the season, which was the last for a young player in a red Highland uniform, has on someone who played all four years on varsity and grew into a reigning all-state player.
That is what happened to Rachel Miller who saw her career as a Cardinal end with the coaches and teammates she loves
"I grew into being a leader," Rachel said proudly. "I had to step up each year. When I was a junior I started playing all-around and I had to learn a lot."
"We had a heck of a run," Rachel said. "I am very proud of my team. We accomplished so much."
Coach Maria Wineski knew the Cardinals had their hands full with the hard hitting Wonewoc Center Wolves.
"They have a good team and they really hit well," she said.
But the 3-1 loss did not dim her feelings for the 2021 Cardinals.
"They are a tight group of girls," she began. "They gave 100% every day in practice and in every game. They enjoyed what they were doing every day."
"They are unique in that they are glad to share the spotlight," Wineski added. "There was no drama with this group. They are a true team."
The Cardinals started out like they ended their sweep of Potosi two nights before with a 25-22 win in the first set. Katelyn Mueller had two kills, a block and an ace while Rachel Miller had an ace and two blocks, one which gave the Cardinals game point.
But the Wolves came out hitting and put down some kills that were unreturnable. Nicole Totzke started her run of kills with four, Shelby Justman had a kill and an ace with Kelsey Justman putting down three kills with one of them ending the match 25-12.
Of Highland's 12 points, five came on net serves by the Wolves and three on kills by Rachel Miller.
With the match tied at 1-1 both teams were looking to make the next move in their favor. When it was over the Wolves moved to 2-1 with a 25-16 win that featured Totzke continuing to dominate at the net with three kills with Kelsey Justman adding four and Shelby Justman getting two.
Highland bad eight errors trying to return the hits. Rachel Miller had two aces and a kill and Katelyn Mueller had a block.
The fourth set would determine if there would more volleyball for the Cardinals but the Wolves refused to back away. Totzke had the big kill of the night when she put one down for the final point in a 25-15 win. She had two kills and a block in the set while Kelsey Justman had five kills and a block with Shelby Justman getting the first kill of the set.
The Cardinals tried to stay with the Wolves with two kills and two blocks by Rachel Miller and two kills by Katelyn Mueller.
Wineski made a couple changes in the final set. She put in 5-10 freshman Anna Hennessey and 5-7 Bronwyn Halverson to attempt to battle the Wolves outside hitters and had sophomore Lilly Michek take over the libero duties when Ella Cody fell ill.
"I am proud of those kids," Wineski said. "They were not afraid and when they were asked to step up, they did."
For the Cardinals Rachel Miller had nine kills, two blocks, three aces, six assists and eight digs.
Katelyn Mueller had six kills, three blocks, two aces and 11 digs.
Meg Tarrell had two kills nine assists and 19 digs.
Katelyn Esser had a kill and five blocks.
Grace Dreischmeier had two aces and 17 digs.
Ella Cody had an ace, two assists and 24 digs.
For the Wolves Totzke had 12 kills, two aces and a block. Kelsey Justman had seven kills and an ace. Shelby Justman had six kills and three aces. Bryn Ertl came up with two kills, an ace and a block.
This was the last match for eight Highland seniors. Seeing their last time on the court were Jenna James, Katelyn Esser, Rachel Miller, Katelyn Mueller, Meg Tarrell, Malayna Fredericks, Maya Tarrell and Tristan Imhoff.
"I love my seniors," Wineski said. "It will be hard to replace their leadership and their skills."
"I've had them for four years," Wineski added. "There is a bond you can't duplicate when you know each other so well."
"I will miss them."

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