Wausau West is two wins away from state

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- "We're peaking at the right time," said Wausau West head coach Cathy Newton.

Robyn Kraus celebrating Wausau West's point. WSAW. 10-29-19.

Wausau West had a miraculous 2018 season going 33-4, but the Warriors fell to SPASH in the sectionals.

Fast forward to this season after two more losses to the Panthers in straight sets during the regular season, West finally tamed their conference foe in the regional final over the weekend with a triumphant 3-1 victory. Redemption was sweet.

"SPASH had ended our season the last two years, and some of those kids were on both of those teams," said Newton. "So it's been a huge deal for them just to say that they weren't going to let them happen again."

"It's just like a different feeling, that SPASH game," said Warriors senior middle hitter Anna Cunningham. "It like brought our energy way up, and like feels really good."

The six-seeded Warriors knocked off the three-seed in SPASH, and now face two-seed Eau Claire North on Thursday. They may be underdogs, but they're embracing that title.

"It's obviously a different energy when you're looked at as the underdog versus like the expected winner of the match, but we definitely use that to our advantage and make sure that the other team knows that we're here to compete," said Wausau West senior libero Jenna Rusch.

As if this team didn't have enough motivation after last season's disappointing finish, the sectional final on their side of the bracket will be held right here in their home gym. Meaning, West could have an opportunity to advance to state for the first time since 2000 in front of their home fans.

"That's a big deal," said Newton.

"As soon as we found out that it was going to be held home, it was definitely a huge goal of ours to get to that point, and now, it's more reachable than ever," said Rusch.

The Warriors are two wins away from Green Bay with plenty of fuel for the fire, and right now, playing with even more confidence. A dangerous combo for any opponent.

"There's an aspect of you know just saying leave it all out there on the court, and whatever happens, happens," said Rusch.