Greenfield - On and on, back and forth went the Greenfield and Whitnall girls volleyball teams seemingly all night in a Woodland Conference match on Sept. 6.
The Hustlin' Hawks and Falcons hooked up in a thrilling marathon struggle that drove the players on both sides to their physical and emotional limits before Greenfield finally pulled out a 25-22, 23-25, 25-23, 24-26, 15-11 victory.
"This was a grueling, grinding match that used up almost all possible points," Whitnall coach Todd Smith said. "There were epic highs and lows. In Game 3, we were leading 22-14 and lost, and in Game 4, we were losing 21-12 and won. As much conditioning as we do, the girls were still gassed at game's end."
Greenfield coach Britany Pfeifer said, "This group of girls has a lot of drive and fight to finish matches."
For Greenfield, Marlene Hagen racked up 18 kills, Chesca Pancorbo a career-high 53 assists, Lauren Bullock 23 digs and Jessie Kalous four blocks.
The Falcons were led by libero Brittany Treuer with 30 digs and five aces.
"After the match, (Pfeifer) pulled me aside and called (Treuer) 'money,' because she was everywhere on the court," Smith recalled.
Whitnall's Ashley Markowiak put together a double-double with 11 kills and 10 blocks and Lauren Ray tallied 21 assists.
After a day to recover, both teams hit the court again on Sept. 8, and both won.
Greenfield downed Greendale, 25-13, 25-16, 23-25, 25-19, while Whitnall defeated South Milwaukee, 26-24, 23-25, 25-13, 25-16.
For the Hustlin' Hawks, Hagen collected 10 kills, five digs and six blocks; Kalous 11 kills and nine blocks, Sam Deleon eight kills and 11 digs, Franny Wenninger seven kills and Pancorbo 40 assists and 10 digs.
Bullock, Michelle Matysik and Luci Krenzke paced the defense.
"The team played very solidly in the two matches," Pfeifer said. "I think that we are going to surprise a lot of people this season after graduating basically the whole starting lineup from last year."
The Falcons were led against South Milwaukee by Markowiak with six aces and 12 kills, Allison Czaplewski with 19 assists, Katie Freiburgs with 18 digs and three blocks and Emily Kuether, also with three blocks.
"We are still working out a few kinks," Smith said. "We are making too many unforced errors.
"We had more missed serves than aces, and we are having issues with swings offensively. When we run our offense as intended, we look very good; we just need consistency."
Both teams are at home Thursday with Greenfield against Wauwatosa West and Whitnall against New Berlin Eisenhower.
Both matches begin at 6:30 p.m.
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