By Brady Ambrose
Special to the Caledonia Argus
The early-season showdown between two of the better volleyball teams in the area showed why the Wabasha-Kellogg Falcons are the number two ranked team in the state in Class A.
Led by a monster night from senior outside hitter Katie Cavalco, W-K rolled to a 26-24, 25-15, 19-25, 25-17 win over Caledonia Thursday night at Caledonia Area High School.
Cavalco put up career numbers as she hammered out 25 kills and 21 digs to put away the Warriors, who entered the game ranked number nine in Class AA.
“She likes to rip. She just gets a rip at it and she hits it in,” Warrior coach Scott Koepke said. “She hits it in different spots; very difficult to defend.”
The first game of the match proved to be a nail-biter as the two teams battled back and forth the entire way. A kill from Caledonia’s Maria Fruechte tied the score at 7-7, and the teams traded points until W-K took a 17-15 lead. But the Warriors battled back and took an 18-17 lead and appeared to have game one in the bag at 22-19.
A tip-kill from Emma Lange put the Warriors within two points of a win at 23-20, but the Falcons scored two straight and Cavalco recorded two straight kills to tie the score at 24 all.
A spike by Warrior Maddy Mullins sailed out to give W-K a 25-24 lead, and the Falcons capped a 7-2 run and won game one on another kill from Cavalco, 26-24.
The Warriors struggled in the second game, falling behind 7-2 early and never challenged W-K. Caledonia closed the gap to 15-11, but the Falcons scored four of the next five to go up 19-12.
After a Caledonia time out Ellen Vanwey put the Falcons up 21-13, and W-K rolled to an easy, 25-15 win in game two.
The Warriors got on track in the third game as Fruechte and Lange took control of the middle mid-way through the game. Tied at 15 all, Caledonia went up on a tip-kill from Fruechte and another spike from Mullins gave the Warriors a 19-17 lead. A kill from Lange made the score 20-17. When Lauren Rusert’s serve hit the top of the net and trickled over for a point the Warriors led 22-17. Two blocks by Lange made it 24-18, and the Warriors won game three 25-19.
But W-K put an end to the night with a strong game four, winning 25-17. It was close early as W-K went up 6-4 but then took off on a 13-6 run to take a 19-10 lead on a kill by Vanwey.
The W-K lead reached double-digits when a great dig by the Falcons Miranda Jacob in the back row sailed over the net and fell between Lange, Rusert and Taylor Winjum for a 23-13 W-K lead.
A kill from Lange made the score 24-17, but Cavalco ended the night with her 25th kill of the night for a 25-17 Falcon win.
“It comes down to ball control. They passed the ball better than we did. I thought their ball control was better, and serving wise they served a fair amount out, but we served a lot into the net,” Koepke said. “The girls also said they hit too many shots out. I think each of the girls learned something tonight. We just have to keep getting better and growing. It’s all about improvement.”
Maria Fruechte and Emma Lange each had 15 kills for Caledonia, and Kayln Biever led W-K with 49 assists and Lexi Vaplon had 24 digs.