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Waupaca wins volleyball regional

Waupaca’s Peyton Carlson returns a Clintonville serve Oct. 17 during a WIAA Division 2 regional match at Waupaca High School. The Comets defeated Clintonville and Merrill in the first two rounds of the state tournament before winning a regional championship Oct. 21 with a win over Shawano. Greg Seubert Photo

Comets get the upset in Shawano

By Greg Seubert

Anything can happen when it comes to the state tournament.

Just ask the Waupaca volleyball team.

The Comets took three of four sets from top-seeded Shawano Oct. 21 to keep their season alive with a Division 2 regional championship.

The fourth-seeded Comets will now head to Mosinee Thursday, Oct. 26, to face the third-seeded Indians at 7 p.m. Mosinee won its regional championship Oct. 21 by taking all three games from No. 2 seed Oconto Falls.

Waupaca had advanced to its second regional final in three seasons by sweeping Merrill and Clintonville.

McKaylee Stephenson concentrates before serving for Clintonville in the Truckers’ season-ending WIAA state tournament loss to Waupaca. Greg Seubert Photo

Waupaca 3, Shawano 1

Besides earning the No. 1 seed in its regional bracket, the Hawks also came into their regional final with a 37-4 overall record and a home court advantage.

It didn’t take long for the Comets to make a statement, as they took the first set 25-22.

Shawano answered with a 25-22 win in the second game, but Waupaca closed out the match with 25-21 and 25-19 wins.

“That first set was tough,” coach Liz Kneer said. “We came in just a little bit off (for the second game). We adjusted and came out and played that tough volleyball that this team has been doing all season. We controlled our fate in this one and did the things we needed to do. Everybody makes mistakes, but in those critical moments when we had the opportunities to take advantage of it, that is exactly what we did.”

Shawano finished second in the Bay Conference standings behind Xavier, while Waupaca ended third behind Fox Valley Lutheran and Luxemburg-Casco.

“We knew Shawano was going to be tough,” Kneer said. “They’ve had an amazing season. We knew they had two big hitters in the middle that we needed to slow down.”

Mosinee ended Waupaca’s season in 2021 with a five-set loss in a regional final,

“We haven’t seen Mosinee in the regular season, but we played them a lot over the summer,” Kneer said. “It’ll be interesting to watch film on them and see what they look like as an in-season team rather than as a league team over the summer. They’re obviously good if they beat Oconto Falls. We’re excited to see what they have in store for us.”

Waupaca 3, Merrill 0

The Comets pulled out a 32-30 win over the fifth-seeded Bluejays in the first set Oct. 19 before sealing the match with 25-20 and 25-14 wins to complete the sweep.

Waupaca 3, Clintonville 0

Waupaca opened tournament play against a North Eastern Conference opponent and ended the Truckers’ season with a 25-8, 25-7, 25-16 sweep Oct. 17.

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