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Sweet 16: Germantown volleyball team clinches share of NSC dual meet title

Crown is 16th for Warhawks

Oct. 7, 2012

Germantown - The Germantown girls volleyball team will need to get a new conference championship banner to hang in the gym after their surprisingly easy 26-24, 25-17, 25-19 win over North Shore archrival Nicolet on Oct. 4.

Because the old one is already full.

It holds the dates of 15 championships, including the last two years and will need another, because with the win over Nicolet, the Warhawks (6-0 in duals) have clinched no less than a share of the league dual meet title, which would be crown No. 16.

They took on Homestead (5-1) on Tuesday in the final league match of the season and the NSC tourney (which also counts as a portion of the overall league championship), is scheduled for Saturday at Whitefish Bay (9 a.m.). Last year, Nicolet took the dual meet title in a thrilling, dynamic five-game win over Germantown before a boisterous crowd on the Knights' home court before the Warhawks won the league tourney title.

The talent level in the 2011 match was very high with several players off both sides earning some kind of college scholarship.

It was much quieter and smaller crowd in the Warhawks gym on Oct. 4. The talent level was a bit diminished on both sides, but the degree of "want-to" was still the same. Germantown senior all-rounder Megan Johnston, one of five Warhawks celebrating senior night this evening, was involved in last year's match and noticed the difference.

"Both of us have a lot of new girls out there," Johnston said, "but it's always a great match. Every year it's competitive and close."

Getting rid of the jitters

Closer at the start than veteran Germantown coach Diane Harrod was really comfortable with.

"We had a little bit of a slow start, but once we settled down, we were fine," Harrod said. "We just had to get rid of the jitters."

"The jitters" included a 9-3 game one start by Nicolet. The Warhawks started pushing back a little bit with the help of fine play by junior middle hitter Beth Kuske and Johnston, but the Knights held the lead until a trio of aces by senior libero Marisa Moser made it 21-19.

Nicolet would rally to tie the game three times, the last time at 24, but a Knights service error, one of nine by them in the game, and a kill by Warhawks senior right side hitter Carly Sanfilippo closed out the win.

"We missed nine serves and we still only lost by two," Nicolet coach Dann Jacobson said. "We cut those in half, we probably win the game and then who knows what happens after that. ... And we're not so young any more. It's getting toward the end of the season. I'd like to think that we'd keep getting better."

Instead, it was the Warhawks who got better. They ran off the first three points of the second game as the margin never dipped below two points.

Germantown scored six of the last seven points to close out the second set.

Nicolet put up a fight in the third set, and had a lead at 9-8, but then the Warhawks went on a 9-1 run and never looked back. The Warhawks advantage never dipped below four after that point.

Nice finish on senior night

Johnston said it was a fun and fulfilling way to spend senior night (other seniors included all-around Bethany Laubenheimer and right side hitter Brianna Fox).

"We had to display a little more leadership this season," Johnston said, "but we're working hard, and we're hoping that we can put it all together before the end of the season. I thought everybody played great tonight."

Jacobson was pleased with the efforts of junior all-rounder Angie Morello and senior middle hitter Jessica Kloehn. He was also impressed with the efforts of the Warhawks.

"I give them a lot of credit," he said. "They don't have any one big star but they can distribute the ball. ... They have about four people they can go to, that's a nice luxury to have.

"Our margin of error is smaller."

Harrod was pleased with the setting this night, as it was able to get Kuske (one of Germantown's tallest players) more fully involved.

"And when we needed a big play, we were able to go to Maggie (Johnston's nickname)," Harrod said. "We were sound all the way around tonight. It's not always like that, but it was tonight."

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