Cardinal Trifecta Barks Past the Badgers on Court
September 1, 2021 by Haley Adams

Haley Domen honored for 2,000 career assists

In what felt like a playoff-caliber game, the Huskies and Badgers battled in a 3-0 match, with Cardinal showing a near-perfect game plan.

For game photos click here.

In what felt like a playoff-caliber game, the Huskies and Badgers battled in a 3-0 match, with Cardinal showing a near-perfect game plan.

The Huskies also celebrated a milestone for senior setter Haley Domen, who received her 2,000 assist earlier in the week. After a kill from teammate Lindsay Hissa, head coach Karisca Chambers called a timeout to recognize Domen and present her with a game ball in front of a boisterous student section, which the Huskies missed greatly a season ago.

She has aided most of our success these last four years,” said Chambers when asked what the setter has meant to the program.

Cardinal jumped out to a 5-2 lead over the Badgers; senior defensive specialist Grace Whitney picked up her first ace of the night, and Hissa started the evening with two kills on two swings.

Our game plan was to come in strong, and we knew Berkshire would be one of our top competitors, and we had to have positive energy as a whole,” Whitney said.

A strong serving performance from senior Angie Romano tied things up at six when the Badgers earned three straight points. The first set was knotted up again at 12 before Gabby Nemeth recorded two straight aces, forcing the Badgers to call a timeout.

The two teams would trade points, but some costly errors late in the set by the Badgers allowed Cardinal to win the first set 25-19 and go up 1-0 on the evening.

A much different chapter unfolded for the Huskies in the second set. The Huskies recorded five aces in the first set, as compared to one, and three service errors started the second set, helping their opponent trail by just one, 6-5.

We were planning on coming in and giving Cardinal a game,” said junior Maddy Triskett of the Badgers.

When the Badgers received serves well, and limited their errors, they found much success in sophomore Maddie Smetana and junior Hannah Washell.

Midway through the second set, Cardinal doubled the score at 12-6 with a pair of aces from Whitney. Head coach Joan Prots gathered her team together and called a timeout to discuss the serve of Whitney, who finished with five aces on the evening.

She received a strong response from her Badgers, who then trailed by just two, 12-14. But with a heavy-laden senior class, the Huskies proved to be too much down the stretch.

Berkshire is a good team,” Chambers said. “They have some hard hitters and good defenders. I knew it was going to be a battle.

The thing about our team is we don’t get rattled. Even if we get in a rut and give up a few points here and there, we are able to refocus and get the next play. We don’t have players who individually fall apart, and I believe that is what makes us a great team.”

The Huskies took set two, 25-21

In a must-win situation, the Badgers came out in dominating fashion, leading 3-0 to start the third set. An ace from senior libero Arielle Walter helped extend her team’s lead, 5-2.

After a quiet second set, Hissa would start to heat up midway through the third, forcing the Badgers to call a timeout. They watched their three-point lead diminish to a three-point deficit, 9-12.

Berkshire trailed by just one, 16-17, after a roll shot from junior Sierra Berman went down for a kill. Late in the third, a big-time kill from Smetana pulled the Badgers even closer, down 21-23.

Back-and-forth errors from both teams put Cardinal at match point number two. The Huskies eventually won the set 25-23, and the match 3-0.

After it all, Chambers praised her team on “mental toughness,” perhaps the difference maker for the Huskies.

There’s always a lot going on in a coach’s mind in a tough matchup against one of the biggest rivalry games, but I have complete confidence in my team and I knew they would pull through,” Chamber said. “We’ve really been working on mental toughness, teamwork and ball control.”

Hissa led the Huskies with nine kills, while sophomore Rylee Wernsmann came up clutch with three. Whitney led all servers with five aces on the night, while teammate Nemeth added three and picked up 15 digs. Domen led all with 22 assists.

Maddie Smetana led all with 12 kills, and sophomore Sammi Winter dished out 15 assists. Berman led with seven digs.

We didn’t have very many tough matches before Berkshire like I usually like to plan to get us ready, but my girls are resilient,” Chambers said, reflecting on the match. “They don’t back down from a challenge, and they support each other. We were ready and wanted to compete.

The best part of the rivalry games is the crowd! We feed off the positivity and hype from our crowd, and they were amazing. It was so nice to have full stands again.”