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Straford wins fourth straight D-3 region title

By Casey Krautkramer

Stratford’s volleyball team will face a familiar playoff foe in Fall Creek this Thursday, Oct. 31, after the Tigers beat the Auburndale Apaches, 3-1, to win their fourth straight WIAA Division 3 regional championship on Saturday in the Stratford High School gym.

Senior libero McKenna Krall said she’s fortunate to be part of a Stratford volleyball program that’s won regional volleyball titles during her entire high school career. “It’s truly really special to our team that we’ve won so many regional championships,” she said after the Tigers beat the Apaches. “It has been a learning experience, with new players in our team’s starting lineup this season, but they have filled the open roles so well and I never doubted them.”

Stratford lost its first set, 25-11, against Auburndale but then the Tigers woke up and rallied to win the next three sets by scores of 25-12, 25-21 and 25-13, to take the match.

Senior Kamryn Schueller led Stratford with nine attack kills against Auburndale, while junior Lauryn Nagel added eight and junior Mikayla Guldan six. Na- gel and Guldan paced the team with two ace serves each. Senior Ashley O’Neil collected three blocks, junior setter Abby Oertel had 17 set assists and Krall 13 digs.

Tanaya Schillinger, a junior defensive specialist for the Tigers, said it’s neat the Stratford volleyball program has captured four consecutive regional championships, considering the banner on the gym wall had been empty.

“I think it just shows dominance and that we are the Stratford Tigers and we just keep making a name for ourselves, and it shows we are a force to be reckoned with and we are ready to go up against anybody,” Schillinger said.

Just like Stratford’s football team, the Tigers volleyball team also feels like it should’ve been awarded a No. 1 seed in the Division 3 playoffs. Instead, the Stratford volleyball team’s opponent this Thursday, Fall Creek, received the No. 1 seed even though the Tigers and Crickets have identical match records this season. Stratford also beat Fall Creek, 3-1, in a Division 3 sectional semifinal match last season, and also 2-1 in the Marathon Early Bird Tournament this season.

“Receiving a No. 2 seed put a little flame underneath our team,” Schillinger said. “It really makes us want to work hard to win the sectional semifinal match against Fall Creek this week, especially knowing we were voted against a couple of times for the No. 1 seed. We want to show Fall Creek how good we are and why we should’ve earned that seed.”

Stratford and Fall Creek both have 38-3 match records this season, and both teams also finished 7-0 to win their respective conference championships.

Tigers down Wildcats

Stratford also lost its first set to Edgar during its WIAA Division 3 regional semifinal match last Thursday at home. The Tigers rebounded, however, to beat the Wildcats, 3-1, in the match.

Guldan led Stratford with 12 kills and Schueller added 11 against Edgar. Krall paced the Tigers with four aces and 19 digs. Abby Oertel had 19 assists. Schillinger contributed three aces.

Edgar senior McKenna Schraufnagel led her team with 10 kills against Stratford, while junior Gabbi Keim had eight. Senior Bailey Imhoff paced the Wildcats with 31 digs and senior Mikaela Christenson with 14 assists. Freshman Reagan Borchardt led Edgar with seven blocks and Keim had four. Edgar concludes this season with a 14-15 record in matches under two-year head coach Courtney Neumann.

Athens falls to Columbus

The Athens volleyball team had no answer for how to stop Marshfield Columbus sophomore Dorci Walker, who is regarded as one of the best hitters in the state in her Class of 2022, during its WIAA Division 4 regional championship

“It’s truly special to our team that we’ve won so many regional championships.”

McKenna Krall


match on Saturday in Marshfield.

Athens lost its match to Columbus in straight sets by scores of 25-13, 25-15 and 25-21. Walker led the Dons with 12 kills. Junior Shauna Belter led Athens with seven kills and junior Crystal Dearth paced the team with two aces and 11 assists. Senior Courtney Murkowski recorded three blocks and senior Paul Lira had 15 digs.

Bluejays down Royals

Athens beat Wisconsin Rapids Assumption, 3-1, in its WIAA Division 4 regional semifinal match last Thursday at home. The Bluejays won the first set, 25-15, before losing the second set, 25-23. Athens rebounded to take the next two sets, 25-19 and 25-21.

Murkowski led Athens with 12 kills and five blocks, and sophomore Sierra Hart paced the team with four aces. Senior Abby Olson, Dearth and Murkowski contributed two aces each. Lira led the Bluejays with 13 digs, while senior Kiera Weiler and Dearth tallied 14 assists each.