Athens, Wittenberg-Birnamwood volleyball fall in state semifinal matches

Athens lost to Monticello and Wittenberg-Birnamwood was defeated by Howards Grove on Friday in Green Bay
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 1:04 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WSAW) - Athens and Wittenberg-Birnamwood fell in their respective state semifinals on Friday to end their seasons.

Making their third-ever trip to state, Athens entered the tournament as a two-seed, playing three-seeded Monticello in the semifinal. Athens opened the match by dropping the first set 25-22, but put themselves in position to win the match after winning sets two and three.

In the fourth set, the Blue Jays held a lead for a majority of the time, but the Ponies put together a late run to win 25-21 and force a fifth set. The Blue Jays couldn’t overcome the momentum swing, dropping the set 15-9 and the match 3-2.

“I’m not that coach that’s going to tell them that it’s ok, because I know it doesn’t feel ok right now, but they’re going to be able to sit back and think back on some memories of this season and be happy with where we came and we made it,” said head coach Tanille Hartwig. “We made it to where we wanted to be.”

“I never gave up on it. I felt like we always had a chance. I trusted my team and we were all in it together,” said junior Jazelle Hartwig.

Addison Lavicka led the team with 18 kills while Jazelle Hartwig followed closely with 17 kills. Lavicka and Hartwig were also one and two on the team in assists, respectively.

Wittenberg-Birnamwood was making their first-ever trip to the state tournament, but they faced an uphill battle against top-seeded Howards Grove. The Tigers entered as the three-time defending state champions and backed that feat up, sweeping the Chargers 3-0.

Reece Rogowski led the Chargers with 11 kills while Payton Foster had a team-high eight assists.

“It’s definitely a great mindset these girls have is ‘I’m out there, I’m enjoying it and I’m doing the best to give it my all and get the win,’” said head coach Becky Rew. “It’s really come around for them and it’s really been the way our team’s played all season long.”

“I’m so grateful for this experience. It’s like no other honestly, so just getting to play our last game here, like she said, is really special for us,” said senior Reese Rogowski.