McDonell defeats Mercer to return to state tournament

October 31 – CLEAR LAKE – Kait Ortmann didn’t see his thunderous murder which secured a state tournament spot for his McDonell Macks. But she really felt it.

“I think I passed out for a second,” Ortmann said. “I swung and saw him coming in and immediately closed my eyes. I felt everyone surround me and I was like, ‘Oh my God, we just did that. ‘”

Ortmann’s 10th kill of the night completed McDonell’s unlikely journey to a second straight appearance in a Division 4 state volleyball tournament, putting the finishing touches on a straight-set victory over no-seed Mercer. 1, Saturday night at Clear Lake. It also sparked a celebration with the Section Championship trophy which started with the players and eventually included a significant section of students who made the long haul.

“Last year we had the opportunity to declare, but this year it took a lot of work to get there,” said senior Lauryn Deetz. “It was very different from last year.”

McDonell entered the playoffs as the No. 3 seed after a somewhat disappointing regular season given the program’s high standards. The Macks went 3-4 in the Western Cloverbelt after posting a perfect 7-0 score in 2020. They had to deal with injuries and players adjusting to new roles, but they used the campaign as a learning opportunity. As the playoffs begin, they are putting those lessons into practice.

The Macks enjoyed a major shake-up in their section, avoiding a Turtle Lake team ranked No. 1 in the state by the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association. But they still upset a group of Emmanuel Lutherans who broke out last year and had rehearsal talent, knocked out the Clear Lake team that upset Turtle Lake and swept a No.1 seed. 1 at Mercer Saturday night.

“Our journey to get state has been pretty crazy,” McDonell coach Kat Hanson said. “We had a lot of ups and downs and we fought hard and together. We had a very difficult section and we are lucky to have finished in the lead.

McDonell will be heading to the Resch Center in Green Bay alongside Wabeno / Laona, Wonewoc-Center and Monticello. The teams will be ranked at a later date.

The night started slowly for McDonell, with Mercer taking the first four points and six of the first seven. The Macks came back to tie it at 14-14, then took an 18-14 lead in a 6-0 streak. McDonell was only trailed once for the rest of the game, when Mercer took the 1-0 lead early in the third set. Hanson’s group handled the Tigers’ persistence well to seal a 25-20, 25-17, 25-18 triumph.

“A team like this, they throw every ball,” Ortmann said. “It’s boring. You just have to keep hitting them until they make a mistake.”

Again, McDonell could draw on previous experience.

“It was really similar to the feel of Clear Lake,” Ortmann said. “We lost 9-0 to Clear Lake and always felt like we had a chance. It was the same. We knew we could come back if we just played our game.”

Many players on this year’s squad got a taste of the state last year, but it wasn’t the full experience. The event was split into multiple locations due to the coronavirus pandemic, leading to a quieter environment. Division 4 was played at Little Chute High School. This year, the tournament has returned to its usual format.

“They don’t know anything different so they don’t know what to expect,” Hanson said. “I know what it’s going to look like, so it’s going to be exciting to see their reactions when we go down to the Resch Center when they see the big lights and the great hall and the big crowds. I’m excited for them. They worked hard for it. that. It was not an easy trip. “

Gamers know enough to expect the Resch Center to be a step forward.

“Last year it was amazing going to State, but it was in a high school gym the size of (Clear Lake),” Ortmann said. “Going to this stadium will be a very, very good feeling.”

“It’s like a whole new level,” Deetz added. “We can actually go out there and play in a really cool gym and in front of a bunch of people where last year it was nothing like that.… It gave us a lot more work during the regular season. . “

——

McDonell 3, Mercer 0

McDonell def. Mercer 25-20, 25-17, 25-18.

McDonell Leaders: Marley Hughes 12 eliminations, 3 blocks, Kait Ortmann 10 eliminations, Aubrey Dorn 10 eliminations, Lauryn Deetz 16 digs, 2 aces, Desi Baughman 8 eliminations, 11 digs, Sydney Flanagan 11 digs, 4 aces, Abby Bresina 12 digs.


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