The Sun Prairie girls volleyball team, ranked 12th in Division 1 by state coaches, earned a return trip to the WIAA state tournament — and their fifth visit since 2012 — by sweating out a 26-24, 23-25, 24-26, 25-23, 15-8 over visiting Waunakee.
The Cardinals will open play Thursday in the quarterfinals of the state tournament at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
K.J. McNabb led Sun Prairie with 16 kills, Josie Halbleib delivered 41 assists and Emily Mickelson had 33 digs for the winners.
McFarland 3, Lakeside Lutheran 2
In Division 2, fourth-ranked McFarland earned its first WIAA state tournament trip since 1982, pulling out a 28-26, 12-25, 25-22, 16-25, 15-11 victory over second-ranked Lakeside Lutheran. Ella Collins had 25 kills for the Warriors, and Lizzy Fortune had 38 assists and four aces to lead the Spartans.
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Waterloo 3, River Ridge 1
In Division 3, the second-ranked Pirates defeated the ninth-ranked Timberwolves, 25-19, 17-25, 25-13, 25-14, to earn their fourth state trip since 2014. Illinois recruit Brooke Mosher stuffed the stat sheet with 26 kills, 18 digs, 24 assists and three blocks for Waterloo.
Kettle Moraine 3, Middleton 2
The Cardinals saw a six-year run of state tournament appearances end with a 21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 23-25, 9-15 loss to the Lasers in a WIAA sectional final at Sun Prairie. Parker Van Buren finished with 40 kills and six aces for the Cardinals.