Whippet Volleyball Opens Season with UW-Whitewater Tourney

The Whippet Volleyball Team opened the 2019 season playing in the UW-Whitewater Tournament. To begin play on Friday, Whitewater took on Catholic Central that won a state title last year. The two teams battled and exchanged point leads numerous times which led to extending play to 27 points twice. The team was led by Kacie Carollo’s 8 digs, Hannah O’Brien’s 2.0 passing, Cora Linos’s 9 assists and 2 blocks and Emme Bullis adding 12 kills, 3 aces, and 2 blocks. Despite the evenly matched play between the two teams, the Whippets fell 2-0 by the score of 25-27, 25-27.

Up next for the Whippets was Lakeside Lutheran which lost in the WIAA semi-finals in 5 sets to East Troy, and went on to win another state title last year. Once again the Whippets played tough and kept Lakeside on their heels throughout the match. Although having 25 digs against a powerful Lakeside and running a more balanced offense, Whitewater fell in two sets by the score of 20-25 and 18-25.

Photos Courtesy of Bob Mischka

On the rise, the Whippets’ next opponent was Tomahawk. Kiyla Kopecky used her powerful serve to ace the Hatchets 5 times and Kacie Carollo led the team with a hitting percentage of .500. She had 4 kills in 6 attempts with only one error and added 9 digs. Cora Linos led in the assist category with 17. Emme Bullis led with 12 kills and passing a 2.23. Additionally, Catherine Skindingsrude, Hannah O’Brien, and Amanda Tovar added pivotal digs to keep rallies alive. The combined efforts contributed to Whitewater’s first win of the day by the scores of 25-15, 19-25, and 15-10.

The last match Friday was against Milton. Milton dominated the first set and won 25-14. With the lopsided loss, the coaches decided to make a few adjustments in the lineup to match up better against Milton. Whitewater players have been coached over the course of their volleyball career to be versatile and not limit themselves or the team by being locked in to playing one position. Players need to be able to play multiple positions. All of the Whippets have embraced this mentality of doing what is best for the team. This selflessness became evident in the second set when the players were informed of the lineup changes and rationale for it. Cora Linos was asked to take on a hitting role in the front row to add more offensive weapons and to block the Milton setter when in the front row. Emme Bullis was asked to set in a few rotations and hit and block out of the middle. These adjustments rattled Milton. Whitewater went on to win the second set 29-27. In the third set Whitewater kept the pressure on but ended up losing, 15-17.

On the second day the Whippets opened up playing with confidence and passing well which led to two more wins against Beloit Memorial (2-1) and Evansville (2-0). Whitewater tallied 34 kills, 91 digs, 6 blocks, and 16 aces in the two wins. Maddie Arnett did a great job with adjustments she was asked to make. The team needed her to move to the outside to hit in a few rotations and she never batted an eye. The selflessness of this team is like no other I have coached in all my 20+ years. I am very proud of each player in the Whippet program.

In the second round of pool play the Whippets finished second and entered bronze bracket play, facing off against Lodi. Amanda Tovar recorded a personal best of 6 digs in the match. Amanda is a tremendous athlete who is a volleyball sponge right now. She is asking questions, making adjustments, and getting better each time she steps on the court. Hannah O’Brien and Catherine Skindingsrude are our key defensive and serve receive players who are asked to carry a load in the backcourt. They are raising the level of their play by being able to read opponents’ hitters, recognize holes in our block, and play scrappy defense.

Coach Kathy Bullis stated, “I’m very excited about the growth the team had this weekend and can’t wait to get back in the gym on Tuesday for another three days of opportunities to raise our level of play, before heading up to the Oshkosh Lourdes Tournament next weekend.”

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