Craig girls volleyball sweeps Parker to win Division 1 regional title

John Barry, The Janesville Gazette, Wis.
·3 min read

Apr. 11—JANESVILLE — Who says it is tough to beat a team three times in the same season?

Not Janesville Craig's girls volleyball team.

The Cougars dominated crosstown rival Janesville Parker in a WIAA Division 1 regional title match Saturday night on Bob Suter Court.

Craig cruised to wins in the first two sets before pulling away late in set three for a 25-21 win and a 3-0 sweep. The Cougars won the first two sets 25-10 and 25-12.

Craig (7-7) advances to next week's sectional tournament along with Mount Horeb, Edgerton and McFarland. The teams will be seeded Sunday.

In beating Parker for the third time this season, Craig dominated from the start. The Cougars jumped out to a 10-3 lead in Game 1 and 15-5 in Game 2.

Craig junior Britten Bertagnoli, who had a match-high 15 kills, said beating Parker never gets old.

"It's a big deal to win a regional title, but it's an even bigger deal to beat Parker," Bertagnoli said.

"The key tonight was that we clicked early and played with a lot of energy."

Leading 13-8 in Game 1, Craig pulled away thanks to five straight service points from Lily Campbell to go up 18-8. The first set ended on Bella Vitaioli's kill.

Game 2 was much of the same, as the Cougars jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back. Vitaioli served nine straight points to take Craig's lead from 6-5 to 15-5. Sophia Vitaioli's perfectly placed lob over two Parker defenders at the net ended Game 2.

The highlight of Game 2 was Abby Trapp's foot save that kept a long rally going and eventually ended with a side out for Craig.

"I thought our defense kind of drove our offense all night," Craig coach Blake Budrow said. "Our defense fires up our offense, where our hitters hit a little bit better, and we feed off of that.

"And it is tough to play a team three times, especially your crosstown rival, because you just never know what can happen if somebody gets on a run. Fortunately, we got on the run."

Parker showed life in Game 3 but came up short in its bid to force a fourth game. Falling behind 16-11, the Vikings stormed back and eventually took a 18-17 lead on Jayda Schober's kill. Craig then rattled off four straight points thanks to two Parker unforced errors, a kill from Bertagnoli and an ace from Campbell.

The Vikings cut the lead to 22-21 on Kylee Skrzypchak's kill, but the Cougars scored the last three points to earn the sweep. The match ended on a Parker unforced error.

Parker coach Andy Kimball said his team showed some resiliency after not playing well the first two games.

"We've truly believed all season that when we play our ball, we can play with anybody, and we proved that in that third game," Kimball said. "The girls battled, like they've done all season, and never quit.

"And the most important thing is that we got a chance to play a season. We didn't get to play in the fall and weren't sure what was going to happen this spring. It was a short season, and I hate to see it end this way for our seniors, but it's a lot better than not playing at all."

CRAIG 3, PARKER 0Janesville Parker 10 12 21

Janesville Craig 25 25 25

Parker leaders: Aces—Kylee Skrzypchak and Kendall Buehl 1; Kills—Jayda Schober 10; Assists—Grace Williams 11; Digs—Emma Perry 11; Blocks—Angelina Arndt and Sydney Pajerski 1.

Craig leaders: Aces—Mckaylie Justman 4; Kills—Britten Bertagnoli 15, Justman 10; Assists—Abby Trapp 30; Digs—Sophia Vitaioli 13.

(regional semifinals)CRAIG 3, TURNER 0Beloit Turner 11 8 17

Janesville Craig 25 25 25

Craig leaders—Kills: Bertagnoli 13. Assists: Trapp 13. Blocks: Justman 1. Aces: Justman 8. Digs: Justman 4.

PARKER 3, BELOIT 0Beloit Memorial 16 18 19

Janesville Parker 25 25 25