Week 1 of girls volleyball conference play begins Thursday

By Joe Peine
Posted 9/14/23

Dunn-Saint Croix, Middle Border and Big Rivers conference play are all set to start this Thursday.

The WIAA, or Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, rules say that you can only have …

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Week 1 of girls volleyball conference play begins Thursday


Dunn-Saint Croix, Middle Border and Big Rivers conference play are all set to start this Thursday.

The WIAA, or Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, rules say that you can only have 15 total contests of volleyball outside of conference play, and no more than seven multiple-team contests. Teams have been competing in these non-conference games for over a month, but they will now begin to set their sights on competing for a conference championship.

The pace is about to pick up as the entirety of conference play happens over the course of one month. Each team will play every other team in their conference only once with the winner becoming conference champion. From there, teams go to regionals which start in mid-October. If they are successful there, they move on to sectionals. Finally, the post season culminates less than two months from now with the state volleyball tournament which takes place on the first weekend in November for the surviving teams.

It’s fast. It’s furious. It’s high school volleyball at its finest.


After starting out hot going 8-2 in non-conference play, the Prescott Cardinals have faltered a bit lately going just 2-3 since Aug. 26.

Granted, two of those three losses were against the 12-2 Bloomer Blackhawks. The other loss was against the Spring Valley Cardinals who now sit at 10-5 tied with Prescott.

Tracey Budworth, head coach of the Cardinals, is excited for their start to the season.

“We went 3-0 at the Osceola Quad and took fifth place out of 21 teams at the UW-Whitewater Invite with five wins and three losses. Our only losses at Whitewater were to Union Grove, Monona Grove, and Bloomer, three teams who had strong finishes last year,” Budworth said. “Regular season started with another match against Bloomer, we lost 1-3. That one was a battle, and we kept each set tight. We struggled with Spring Valley at the Baldwin-Woodville quad and didn't play our best match, but we came back strong, beating both Clear Lake and Baldwin-Woodville in two sets.”

With conference play upon us, Prescott is looking to showcase the talent they have on their roster this year.

“The team is talented across the board and has great chemistry. Our standout player Reese Ptacek is a D1 KU recruit. She is ranked #4 player in the state and was one of only seven players to make the all-tournament team at UW-Whitewater,” Budworth said. “Reese is joined by an entire team of strong and adaptable athletes. Our expectation is a successful regular season, we want the Conference title and a deep run in the postseason. I think we've got the talent and the drive to achieve our goals.”

Week 1 begins as the Cardinals go on the road to face the Baldwin-Woodville Blackhawks. Opening serve is at 7 p.m.

Elmwood-Plum City

The Elmwood-Plum City Wolves continue to make progress after having lost most of their core roster that carried them to their first ever regional championship last year. Head coach Amanda Webb is optimistic about the experience her team is gaining this season.

“This weekend we had a home tournament that we hosted in Elmwood. In pool play, we beat Luck and lost to Whitehall and Clayton, but we were still able to get into the gold division of the top four teams of the pool. Then we came across a really tough Eau Claire Immanuel team, who played very well and won the tournament,” Webb said. “It was nice for us to get another win against Luck and to be more successful and a little bit more competitive against Clayton, who we took to three sets. Things are slowly starting to fall into place for us as a team and we're excited to play our first conference match this Thursday against Mondovi in Elmwood.”

The Dunn-Saint Croix Conference now only has seven teams since Elmwood and Plum City have merged, which means that’s one less game the Wolves get to play before regionals. Webb says they have tried to combat this lack of games by venturing out to bigger venues, which also benefits the players as they will get more meaningful games in against a wider array of talent levels.

“We’re Division 4 for volleyball. We’re a small school so pretty much everybody else in our conference is a Division 3 school,” Webb said. “With only six conference matches, we try to play tournaments so we can get more games in and so we’re more prepared for the end of the season.”

Ultimately, winning at regionals, going on to sectionals and hopefully state is the most important for teams. The Wolves hope to use the practice that they’re getting now as a steppingstone to more postseason greatness.

Dunn-Saint Croix Conference play begins in Elmwood this Thursday at 7 p.m. when the Wolves will host the Mondovi Buffaloes.


The Ellsworth volleyball program under first-year head coach Kayla Klecker has gotten off to a successful start with an 11-5 record in non-conference play. With Middle Border play set to begin this week, Klecker reflects on how proud she is of the progress that the Panthers have made this season.

“Three of those losses were at the Menomonie Volleyball Sprawl tournament, and the other two were to Rice Lake and to Durand. Our game against Rice Lake we were able to take a set from them which was a major success for us considering the strength of their program and the experience of their team. We also battled with Durand to lose to them in the fifth set,” Klecker said. “We then traveled to Elk Mound where we once again swept the quad, like in Colfax earlier on in the season, and beat Elk Mound, Somerset and Glenwood City.” 

As non-conference play wraps up, some of the Panthers’ greatest successes and goals have already been achieved.

“The win against Somerset was the win that our girls have been working so hard for. The strength of the Somerset roster the past couple years was always a struggle for us to face and this time it was finally our turn to come in and dominate,” Klecker said. “The cohesive bond that these girls have built to play for one another, the positive mentality that we have developed over the course of this season and the tenacity and determination that pushes these girls to fight for every point has brought us to this successful point in the season.” 

Middle Border Conference play begins on Thursday for the Panthers as they will travel to Altoona to take on the Railroaders. Opening serve is at 7 p.m.

Ellsworth Panthers, EPC Wolves, Prescott Cardinals, volleyball, Pierce County, Wisconsin