WALES — The Sun Prairie girls volleyball team had difficulty finding tranquility Thursday during its WIAA Division 1 state tournament semifinal.
Manitowoc junior outside hitter Mary Satori appeared in her comfort zone throughout.
The 5-foot-10 Satori had a match-high 22 kills, hit .450 and provided 14 digs in leading second-seeded and fifth-ranked Manitowoc to a 25-17, 25-22, 25-23 victory over third-seeded and 10th-ranked Sun Prairie during the alternate fall season in the spring state tournament at Kettle Moraine High School.
Manitowoc (16-1) advanced to the Division 1 championship match against top-seeded and top-ranked Appleton North at 7 p.m. Saturday at Kaukauna High School. Appleton North defeated fourth-seeded and eighth-ranked McFarland 25-19, 25-15, 25-19 in the second semifinal.
“Our bodies definitely weren’t calm,” said senior outside hitter Payton Addink, who led Sun Prairie (10-4) with 11 kills. “We were still moving when we were passing the ball and that got us out of system. Mary was in system every time. … She definitely played crazy good.”
The 6-1 Addink, a Minnesota-Duluth commit, is friends with Satori, another Minnesota-Duluth recruit, and eager to have her as a future college teammate.
“Mary is a hell of a player,” Sun Prairie coach T.J. Rantala said. “You try to contain her. We did some good things on her, but she is a big swing. … She’s a premier player up in that part of the state, and you know good players. We knew she would be a big threat to us. That being said, we did some really good things.
“Our mojo wasn’t there tonight. It was just a little off. We were never able to put a complete game together. We had moments of brilliance.”
The Cardinals rallied to grab a 22-20 lead in the second set. But the Ships, led by Satori and senior middle blocker Claire Swoboda (11 kills overall), scored the final five points of the set.
“Then we got nervous,” Rantala said. “They got one big kill, and then we played to not lose instead of playing to win.”
Sun Prairie junior setter Lily Schellpfeffer had a team-high 25 assists, but the Cardinals struggled on the attack, hitting .177.
“We were just out of system a lot,” Addink said. “It made it tough for `Lil.’ She had to bump-set a lot. When we were in system, we executed really well.”
The Ships hit .340 as a team, including .424 in the first set.
Ships senior setter Lauren Delmore had a match-high 43 assists.
Senior Emily Mickelson led Sun Prairie’s defense with 11 digs.
“Last August, we didn’t think we were playing,” Rantala said. “It’s a tough loss. I’m super proud of these kids. At the start of our season, we had two teams and no fans. To finish like this is pretty great.”
Appleton North 3, McFarland 0
McFarland coach Trish Fortune knew her team, which normally plays in Division 2, faced a major challenge against undefeated Appleton North (14-0), which has lost only one set all season.
“I knew this was going to be a tall task,” said Fortune, whose team finished as Division 2 state runner-up in 2019. “Appleton North has a great coaching staff. They are just solid volleyball — both frontcourt and backcourt. Year after year, they have the passing and all the skills. They played in system tonight and we were scrambling quite a bit.
“We knew we had to come out and be aggressive and we did at moments. It was just a matter of sustaining those moments for longer periods of time and we didn’t do that.”
Junior outside hitter Avery Pennekamp had team-high totals of 10 kills and 10 digs for McFarland (12-3), while junior Hannah Rounds had seven kills. Junior setter Maddy Fortune totaled 23 assists.
“We just wanted to keep positive energy and just keep pushing through,” Pennekamp said. “This was the best team we’ve played all season, so enjoying every minute of it and playing our hearts out (was the team’s mindset).”
The Spartans rallied from a 20-16 deficit in the first set. Pennekamp’s kill brought McFarland within 20-19, but the Lightning closed with five consecutive points.
Fortune said her team’s serve-receive broke down at times during the match.
Ella Demetrician, a 6-2 freshman outside hitter, led Appleton North with 12 kills.
Junior Bella Van Lannen, who hit .800, and junior Brianna Cantrell had eight kills apiece.
The Spartans held an early 7-6 lead in the second set. But the Lightning got rolling, opening an 18-10 lead. Appleton North hit .407 in the second set.
McFarland senior Nina Crull delivered two straight service aces, bringing the Spartans within 24-19 before Appleton North closed out the match.
“This was high-level ball,” Trish Fortune said. “We aren’t used to playing Division 1 schools. I think we had some kids prove that they can play at this level, and so that will only bring them more confidence going into next year.”