Radtke, Vlach end prep volleyball careers with honorable mention
ALL-MARAWOOD NORTH VOLLEYBALL
Earning All-Marawood Conference recognition was going to be tough in a volleyball season where the North Division’s top three teams –– Abbotsford, Prentice and Phillips –– were very good.
But, Rib Lake seniors Savana Radtke and Maesyn Vlach had strong enough years to secure honorable mention, ending their volleyball careers with the Lady Redmen on a high note.
Radtke was mentioned for the second straight season, while this is Vlach’s first All-Marawood award. They were among the leaders for a Rib Lake team that entered the season with five seniors but very little varsity experience and just one junior.
The inexperience showed in a 7-26 season that included a 1-4 mark in the Marawood North and a 3-2 win over Wild Rose in the first round of the WIAA Division 4 post-season tournament. But inside the numbers, it was a team that certainly got better and gave good teams some pushes at times. The team pulled off one signifi cant upset, beating Division 2 Tomahawk in a two-game sweep at the Sept. 14 Merrill Invitational.
“It was so fun to watch how this team has grown over the year,” head coach Barb Anderson said last week.
Vlach may be the player who exemplifi es the improvement the most. After limited playing time as a junior, she stepped into Rib Lake’s libero role this year and turned into the team’s most dependable passer and a solid defender in the back row.
Radtke moved back to her preferred role as an outside hitter after spending last year in the middle of Rib Lake’s front row and led a group of hitters that included Mackenzie Weinzatl, Allison Olwell, Nellie Hopkins and Tia Bube that got better as the year went on and had a big night in the playoff win at Wild Rose.
Rib Lake’s season ended Oct. 24 with a regional semifinal loss to the state’s fourth-ranked Division 4 team Columbus Catholic.
“We knew they had more firepower than us,” Anderson said. “We knew they had front rows that towered over us. We played with them for the first two sets even though the scores didn’t reflect it. At one point in the second set, we dug so many kills and tips that we were huffing and puffing when we got done.”
In the North, Abbotsford went 5-0 to win its first Marawood North volleyball title since 2007. The Falcons knocked off defending champion Prentice 3-2 on Sept. 24. Phillips was third at 3-2, followed by Athens (2-3), Rib Lake and Chequamegon (0-5).
No North team got out of regional play in the WIAA tournament.
This year’s All-North first team featured four unanimous picks among the seven players chosen for the squad. All four of them –– Jayda Friedenfels of Abbotsford, Rachel Callow of Phillips and Olivia Burcaw and Kaelyn Isaacson of Prentice –– are repeat first-teamers from 2018. Isaacson is the first-team libero. Abbotsford’s Jayden Falteisek and Olivia Hammel and Prentice’s McKenna Isaacson round out this year’s team.
Stratford won the Marawood South for the second straight year. The Tigers’ season ended Thursday when they were beaten 3-1 by top-seeded Fall Creek in a WIAA Division 3 sectional semifinal. They beat Abbotsford in a thrilling fiveset match to win the Marawood Conference Crossover championship held in Marathon Oct. 15.