Bluejays’ Sara Gruszynski (No. 12) and Karlee Weavers (No. 15) make a successful block at the net.
Bluejays’ Sara Gruszynski (No. 12) and Karlee Weavers (No. 15) make a successful block at the net.

The Three Lakes girls volleyball team will enter the WIAA Division 4 postseason next week as one of the teams to beat as coach Jayme Wyss and her squad have compiled a 24-4 mark heading into the final week of the regular season.

Coaches gathered virtually Sunday evening to vote on where they felt their team should be slated and without any objection, the Lady Jays secured the top overall seed in their Sectional. They will get a first-round bye as they await to host the winner of Lena and Oneida Nation in a home matchup next Thursday, Oct. 21.

“I think going into the seeding everyone was aware of our standing without me having to say too much,” said coach Wyss.

The Jays, who also sit atop the Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) standings with an unblemished 6-0 record, will be the likely favorite to emerge as Sectional champions as the two teams likely standing in their way for a State berth were beaten by the Bluejays already this season.

The No. 2 seed in the top half of the Three Lakes Sectional went to NLC rival Laona/Wabeno. If Three Lakes wins their opener next Thursday, they’ll then host the Regional Final next Saturday, facing either Wausaukee, Goodman-Pembine, White Lake or Gresham.

After that, the team would likely meet Laona/Wabeno in Three Lakes for a shot to go to the Sectional final. Waiting there will most likely be the Columbus Catholic Dons, who the Lady Jays have defeated twice already this season, albeit in three-set matches.

“That game, if it happens, will take place in Bowler,” Wyss said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”

Three Lakes came within two points of capturing a State berth last year, falling on the road to Prentice in the Sectional final. Following that game, Wyss said immediately that it would be fuel for her team heading into the offseason, and this year admits it was a driving factor for her starting core.

“We’ve been committed to this all season, and have put ourselves in a position where we have a great opportunity in front of us,” she said.

Three Lakes has lost one match since placing second at the D.C. Everest Invite earlier this season, falling there to Eau Claire Memorial and then dropping a match to Bloomer at the Medford Invite a few weeks back.

After finishing up their regular season schedule this past Tuesday with a home matchup against Florence, the team now awaits the first tournament game that will take place Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in Three Lakes. 

Win over Rebels

Three Lakes bolstered its playoff resume last week as the Lady Jays hosted Laona/Wabeno in what was a non-conference game in Three Lakes.

After winning their first matchup of the season in Wabeno earlier this season, the Jays again showed poise and control as they powered their way to a 3-1 win over the Rebels.

“We played well defensively, especially at the net,” Wyss said. “We knew if we could get some blocks setup in front of them defensively they would start to try and tip, and that’s exactly what they did.”

Offensively, Mari Szews was again a force hitting at a 44% kill percentage and leading the way with 19 on the evening.

“Mari was a beast at the net,” Wyss said. “Around that we definitely had some frustrating moments, but the girls dug up a ton of stuff, had good saves and kept their heads in the game.”

Sarah Gruszynski and Addie Lehmann added eight kills apiece as well for the Bluejays, who again got a great setting performance from Kara Sowinski who totaled 36 on the night.