Kelsee Weis can hardly contain her emotions as she jubilantly celebrates with her Catholic Central volleyball teammates during a game in 2018. Weis is one of the Hilltoppers leading returners from last year’s WIAA Division 4 state championship team (File Photo/Standard Press).

Hilltoppers return key players, look to make another deep playoff run

By Mike Ramczyk

The Catholic Central girls varsity volleyball squad is living the dream.

The 2018 Division 4 state champion Hilltoppers bring back their top hitter, Sammie Seib, libero Grace Antlfinger, and middle blocker Katie Goethal, and all signs point to another November trip to Green Bay.

Second-year head coach Wayne Schultz, who led his team to a relatively easy sweep in last year’s state title match, is excited about this fall’s prospects.

Sammie Seib

“We return a strong core that wants to defend our title,” said Schultz, who is 39-7 at Catholic Central after leading the Westosha Central boys program to several state tournament appearances.

“Our goal is to be the best we can be, one point at a time. It should be a fun and challenging year.”

Further reason to get excited is the return of junior Ella Shaw, and sophomores Makayla Vos and Kelsee Weis.

In fact, a solid number of 27 athletes are in the girls volleyball program this season.

The Toppers have picked up where they left off, winning their first three matches of the season.

On Tuesday, they went 2-0 at the Big Foot Triangular, defeating Division 3 power Walworth Big Foot, 25-16, 26-28, 15-12, and Division 1 Lake Geneva Badger, 25-14, 25-15, 15-11.

Seib had 13 kills against Badger, and varsity newcomer Lainey Dirksmeyer led Catholic Central with 10 kills against Big Foot.

Shaw combined for 33 assists at the Big Foot tournament.

Shaw has big shoes to fill, taking over setter duties to replace graduated Liz Klein.

The Toppers must also cope with the losses of Grace Spiegelhoff and Miriam Ward.

Dirksmeyer is among the top newcomers this fall, and she is joined by senior Izzy Phillips, juniors Hannah Sobbe and Cara Krien, sophomores Julia Klein and Alexis Kuchera, and freshman Kelly Pum.

Helping Schultz on the sidelines this season will be assistant coaches Amanda Nevin and Tyler Galstad.

While the girls won it all with only three seniors a year ago, the Toppers feature only two seniors in 2019.

But with a strong core of varsity talent, don’t be surprised if the Hilltoppers are once again parading around downtown Burlington in fire trucks again come November.

In a lopsided victory over Williams Bay, Seib totaled 13 kills, and Goethal added eight.

Seib added five aces, and Antlfinger registered 13 digs.

Shaw and Seib each added seven digs.

Shaw was accurate dishing to her hitters, leading the team with 16 assists. Vos added nine assists.

September – 5: SHORELAND LUTHERAN. 12: at Martin Luther. 14: at DeForest Invite. 19: RACINE ST. CAT’S. 21: at Pewaukee Invite. 26: THOMAS MORE. October – 1: at the Prairie School. 8: at Kenosha St. Joe’s. 10: RACINE LUTHERAN. 15: at Dominican. 17: Scrimmage at Union Grove.