Members of the Burlington High School girls volleyball celebrate during the WIAA Division 1 sectional final against No. 2 Janesville Parker at Westosha Central. The Demons will make their sixth consecutive state appearance Thursday at the Resch Center in Green Bay. (Photo by Jennifer Eisenbart)

The Catholic Central girls volleyball team hoists its WIAA Division 4 sectional title plaque after defeating Green Bay NEW Lutheran Saturday at Central Wisconsin Christian in Waupun. The Hilltoppers start their title defense on Friday. (Submitted photo)

Demons, Toppers vying for unprecedented success at this weekend’s state volleyball tournament

By Mike Ramczyk

Correspondent

State tournaments are the norm in the volleyball-rich Burlington area, where the Division 1 Burlington Demons will battle for their fifth state title in nine years and the Catholic Central Hilltoppers will look for back-to-back state titles this weekend in Green Bay.

The Resch Center will be rocking starting Thursday, when the fourth-seeded, 37-4 Demons take on Southern Lakes rival and No. 5 seed Union Grove (41-5), which is making its first state tournament appearance since 1985.

The two Racine County rivals will collide at 7 p.m.

The Demons, who have won back-to-back titles, are focusing on themselves and playing good volleyball, not necessarily winning it all.

Burlington took part in their last practice at BHS Tuesday, which usually has fun inner-squad competitions, before leaving for Green Bay, where the Demons have owned the Resch Center the past two years.

Can they make it three straight titles this weekend?

Senior setter Kaley Blake certainly believes in her teammates.

“This team is special because it’s a group of girls who have been on the team – some their first year, some their whole varsity career –but carry the common goal of getting to state and winning state,” Blake said. “We support each other, challenge each other and celebrate each other.”

“We have been preparing for this all year and now we have the chance to prove who we are.”

Toppers riding high

Catholic Central (28-10), the No. 2 seed at state, only dropped one set to Black Hawk Thursday night in a WIAA Division 4 sectional semifinal at home before sweeping Green Bay NEW Lutheran in the sectional final Saturday night.

Catholic Central opens the state tourney at 9 a.m. Friday against Hillsboro. The D4 championship match is set for Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

Though top-seeded Clear Lake is 36-0, Toppers coach Wayne Schultz didn’t hold back when asked about how important winning back-to-back titles would be.

“We have a very special team,” Schultz said. “The players treat each other like family. One through 15 on the roster, everyone is a part of our success.”

“Repeating is absolutely our goal and it has been since last season ended. To repeat it will start with us just being who we are. We just need to stay focused and play at state like we played at our first game – relaxed and enjoying the moments.”

To read the entire story and see coverage of both teams’ sectional games see the Nov. 7 edition of the Burlington Standard Press


If you go

      Who: Burlington and Catholic Central girls volleyball

      What: WIAA State Volleyball tournament, girls and boys

      Where: Resch Center, Green Bay

      When: Nov. 7 through 9, (4) Burlington (37-4) vs. (5) Union Grove (41-5), 7 p.m. Thursday.

(2) Catholic Central (28-10) vs. (3) Hillsboro (25-7), 9 a.m., Friday.

       The skinny – The Demons are searching for a three-peat this weekend, while the Toppers look for back-to-back titles. Two teams from the same city winning two years in a row would make history.

Burlington opens with familiar foe Union Grove, but it could face powers Arrowhead, Oconomowoc and River Falls. The Demons tend to save their best volleyball for state, so don’t be surprised if they win a third straight title for the first time in school history.

As for the Toppers, don’t be fooled by their 28-10 record. Sammie Seib is an absolute force, and the team is motivated to capture its second straight crown. They should be the favorite to win it all again.