On Thursday, Oct. 7, the River Falls High School Wildcats swept the Menomonie Mustangs 3-0 to improve to 24-1 for the season, including a 6-0 record in Big River Conference play. The Wildcats are …
On Thursday, Oct. 7, the River Falls High School Wildcats swept the Menomonie Mustangs 3-0 to improve to 24-1 for the season, including a 6-0 record in Big River Conference play.
The Wildcats are having another season for the record books. The dominant win against the Mustangs on Thursday night gave River Falls its 68th consecutive win at home, a streak that dates back to the 2015 volleyball season. Head coach Sara Kealy has built a program at River Falls that rivals that of any other volleyball program in western Wisconsin. Kealy spoke about how her team worked on new plays in the Thursday night victory.
“We’ve been working on a few new set plays in our offense, so it was a good opportunity for us to incorporate them in match play,” Kealy said. “With that came some unforced errors, which is to be expected. I was able to get everyone on my roster into the game. Knowing that we are coming into the final week of the regular season and then moving into the playoffs, it will be harder for me to do that.”
Kealy’s Wildcats are no stranger to the playoffs. River Falls has won conference championships in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. The 2020 season would have likely been another conference championship but because of the COVID19 pandemic and the way that tournaments were played, no official champion was named. In that 2020 season, the Wildcats were undefeated when the season concluded.
The 2021 season is shaping up to be more of the same for Kealy’s roster. River Falls has rolled through all conference opponents thus far. In addition to the aforementioned sweep against Menomonie, River Falls has defeated Eau Claire North, Rice Lake, Hudson, New Richmond and Eau Claire Memorial. In those matches, River Falls has lost a total of zero sets. According to Kealy, her coaching staff started end-of-season preparation on Monday, Oct. 11.
“We started end-of-season preparation today,” Kealy said. “It’s exciting to have a Big Rivers Conference match at the end of the season that means something. We take a lot of pride in having won the last five conference titles, and with that comes pressure. This team doesn’t want to be the one to break the streak.”
The only conference matchup remaining for River Falls is at home against Chippewa Falls on Thursday, Oct. 14. Although the matchup features two undefeated teams in Big Rivers Conference play, River Falls has already demonstrated that Chippewa Falls can’t compete on the same level as the Wildcats.
The two teams squared off in a three-match series at the UW-Stout Invite on Friday, Aug. 27. The Wildcats were dominant in that game and swept Chippewa Falls 2-0. Coach Kealy is confident in her roster and their ability to beat Chippewa Falls in the upcoming matchup that will likely decide the 2021 conference champion.
“We’re looking forward to playing Chippewa Falls on Thursday because it will be a competitive match with a title on the line,” Kealy said.
The match against Chippewa Falls will be played at River Falls High School on Thursday, Oct. 14. That match is slated to begin at 7 p.m.
Elmwood/Plum City tied for first in Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings
The Elmwood/Plum City Wolves remain tied for first place in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings with the Colfax Vikings. As of Monday, Oct. 11, both teams have a perfect 5-0 record in conference play for the 2021 season.
The conference championship will be decided on Tuesday, Oct. 12, when Elmwood/Plum City travels to Colfax to square off in one of the two remaining conference games of the season for the Wolves. If the Wolves win, they would move to 6-0 in conference play, knocking Colfax into sole possession of second place with a 5-1 record. The opposite would also be true if Colfax defeated Elmwood/ Plum City in the Tuesday night matchup.
Both teams hold a two-game lead over the Spring Valley Cardinals, a team that currently has a 5-2 record in conference play. The Wolves will go into the Tuesday night matchup on a one-game losing streak which came against Stanley-Boyd on Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Somerset Invitational. In that matchup, the Wolves lost the three-set series 2-1.
Spring Valley improves to 5-2 in conference play
The Spring Valley Cardinals improved its season record to 12-10 and its conference record to 5-2 after a 3-0 series sweep against conference opponent Mondovi on Thursday, Oct. 7, at Mondovi High School.
Spring Valley’s offense and defense were both clicking in the Thursday night victory on the road against Mondovi. In the first set, Spring Valley got out to an early lead and carried it to the end of the set for a 25-19 victory to take a 10 series lead. The second set was even more dominant for the Cardinals as they won 25-14 to take a 2-0 lead in the series. Spring Valley finished off the sweep with a 25-18 third set victory to improve to 5-2 in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference standings.
Under the direction of head coach Kelli Schlegel, the Spring Valley Cardinals have won seven of their last nine games, four of which were in conference matchups. Although the lateseason conference championship quest will fall short, Schlegel and the Cardinals will have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs in the coming weeks.
The final regular season game for Spring Valley is on Tuesday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Spring Valley High School. That game is expected to begin at 7 p.m.