For the second year in a row, the Schaller-Crestland volleyball team is one game away from a state tournament berth.
The Wildcats overcame a tough hurdle here Thursday night with a surprisingly easy 3-0 sweep of Wall Lake View Auburn, the third-ranked team in Class 1A. The Wildcats beat WLVA, 27-25, 25-18, 25-16.
The Wildcats led throughout most of the three games, and were only behind on four occasions, and by never more than two points. According to Wildcat coach Marilyn Murra, her team played its characteristic basic, fundamental volleyball for the win.
"We played as a team, which fortunately gave us the victory," Murra said. "WLVA is a well-coached team that gave us a tough match."
Offensively, the Wildcats were led by Ayla Ringgenberg's 15 kills and by 13 kills from senior middle hitter Katie Hansen. Ringgenberg was 37 of 43 in attacks while Hansen was 26 of 27.
Kelli Carstensen added seven kills on 21 of 23 hitting.
Serving has been a key for Schaller-Crestland in the last few weeks and it continued the trend Thursday, hitting on 73 of 77 serves for 94.8 percent.
Defensively, the Wildcats just wouldn't let anything hit the floor, and on serve reception they were extremely accurate with passing going right to setter Kayla Bihrer, who finished with 40 set assists.
The Wildcats were 45 of 53 in serve reception and were on the offensive all night.
Game one was the key for the winners. After that, WLVA was never the same, especially in the third game, when WLVA hurt itself with unforced errors.
Katie Benedixen had a fine defensive game with 17 digs, while Lauri Nees added 13, Ringgenberg 14 and Carstensen a match-high 20.
With the win, Schaller-Crestland improved to 25-3 on the season and moves to the region championship game. They'll meet LeMars Gehlen Catholic Tuesday in Ida Grove at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to the Class 1A state volleyball tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
Tuesday night in LeMars, Gehlen beat Westwood in another regional semifinal match.