By David Paulsen

SPORTS CORRESPONDENT

At the Southern Lakes Conference volleyball tournament Saturday, the Union Grove High School girls’ volleyball team accomplished something it had not done in many years.

“We beat Westosha Central in the semifinals, which we have not done in 20 years from what I’m told,” noted head coach Sarah Busalacchi.

The Bronco girls defeated Westosha Central 25-18, 25-17, 25-21 to advance to the championship match against Burlington.

Union Grove had lost in five games to Westosha Central just four days earlier to close out the regular season duals.

In the championship match, Burlington, the No. 1-ranked team in the state on wissports.net, downed Union Grove 25-19, 25-15, 25-22.

In the semifinals, Westosha coach Charlie Berg said his team struggled against the Broncos. Union Grove lost to Westosha in five games last week, and Berg said the Broncos seemed determined to avenge that setback.

“I don’t know if they got after us a little harder than they did on Tuesday or what, but we just broke down in a lot of defensive areas, which is a kind of concerning right now,” he said.

Berg said he didn’t feel like his team had a letdown from its title at the Central Smash the week before.

The team’s struggles against Union Grove just came down to making mistakes at the wrong time, he said.

“When push comes to shove, we didn’t respond and make big plays when we needed to,” Berg said. “Instead of making the next play better, we were making it worse.”

The Broncos also kept up the pressure. Union Grove either led or was within one or two points for most of the match, and didn’t let Westosha establish any kind of offensive pace.

In the final game, the Falcons switched lineups, including switching liberos and middle hitters.

“I think we got aced 14 times in that Union Grove match,” Berg said. “It (didn’t) matter who (was) in the lineup.”

Bailey Johnson led the Broncos with 26 kills, with Ashley Olsen adding 20 kills.

Kassidy Jo Wilks had 82 assists, while Cassy Goodrich finished the day with 35 digs.

The second-place finish in the SLC tournament gave the girls a second-place finish in the conference.

For more on the volleyball team, please see the print edition of Westine Report.