By Jennifer Eisenbart

Sports Editor

It may be just August, and it will be a long two months to get through before the true test comes for the Burlington High School girls volleyball team – the WIAA state tournament.

But for the second year in a row, the Demons showed they were the team most ready after the opening week of the season.

BHS won the Thomas More Joust in Milwaukee Saturday, a tournament that is often referred to as the pre-season state tournament and generally draws the top teams in the state.

And it was a battle between what many are regarding the top two teams in Division 1 for the title. Divine Savior Holy Angels did something no other team did at the Joust – took a game off Burlington – but couldn’t keep up in the third as BHS won 25-13, 21-25, 15-8.

“It was nice to see us not get rattled by that,” said co-head coach Dan Lynch. “The kids showed a lot of strength and perseverance.”

In fact, Lynch seemed pleased at the growing curve the Demons took throughout the tournament. BHS swept all three opponents during pool play Friday – beating Kenosha Tremper 25-7, 25-15, Thomas More 25-16, 25-20 and West Bend East 25-18, 29-27 – but got pushed in the last game against East.

“It was nice to see when West Bend East pushed us that second game, we didn’t fold,” Lynch said.

Then on Saturday, BHS started off the day by downing Waukesha Catholic Memorial – the three-time defending state champs in Division 2 – 25-17, 25-12, beat Germantown 25-22, 25-10, and then routed East in the semifinals, 25-9, 25-10.

That set up the showdown with DSHA, a state semifinalist last year.

It was a strong weekend overall for the many players that Lynch used in a number of different lineups.

“They had to learn to play with these girls,” said Lynch of the seniors adapting to the new players, and vice versa. “And we changed the lineup a lot. Sometimes we’re in a 5-1, and sometimes we’re in a 6-2. The kids are adapting to what we decide to run that game, or part of that game.”

As expected, senior Ciara Capezio led the Demons with 75 kills, but freshmen Quinn Spieker (38) and Phoebe Hozeska (33) contributed as well.

Those three were among the four players who hit over .300 for the tournament, as senior Kaysie Shebeneck added 18 kills (hitting .447) along with 138 assists and 32 digs. Senior libero Morganne Longoria led the team with 58 digs and 12 aces.

Freshman Ali Rueter pitched in 13 kills, 28 assists and 13 digs.

“It’s very nice to see different kids step up at different times,” Lynch said.

Burlington started its season Aug. 22 at home by sweeping the first-ever Demon Invite.

BHS posted straight-set wins over Hartford, Verona Area and Nicolet.

Burlington will be at home against Waterford tonight at roughly 6:30 p.m.