FLORENCE, Wis. - Florence reached one goal Thursday in the WIAA Division 4 girls volleyball sectional semifinal at Lena.
Bobcats coach Trudy Rochon wants another one established for tonight's sectional final with Wausau Newman Catholic at Marion. Start time is 7 p.m.
The Bobcats knocked off Northern Lakes Conference champion and top-seeded Wabeno 3-2 in the sectional semifinals. The Logrollers opened the NLC season by sweeping the Bobcats.
Burt Angeli/The Daily News Photo
Florence’s Shannon Drexler slams the ball at Wabeno in Thursday’s WIAA Division 4 girls volleyball sectional semifinal in Lena. The Bobcats advanced to the finals with a 3-2 victory over the Logrollers.
"That was their goal," Rochon said of avenging the league loss to Wabeno. "I'm hoping they don't feel that they've met their goal.
"We've got our work cut out (with Newman), but who knows what's going to happen."
Newman, normally a Florence girls basketball foe, clipped Greenwood 3-0 in a sectional semifinal Thursday. Abby Brown's 19 kills and 12 digs paced the Cardinals.
"The bigger the challenge, the better the girls play," Newman coach Betty Lange told the Wausau Herald. "It only gets harder with every match this time of year, and now we have to finish."
Florence advanced to the sectional finals in 2010. Bobcats senior Shannon Drexler played the front row for that team.
"We all love each other and we're all so incredibly close," Drexler said of this year's Bobcats. "We know where other people play and what they do. It just works.
"We just work together really well."
To prepare for Wabeno and the hard-serving Logrollers, Rochon brought in Florence grad Kelsey Winchell for a practice session. Winchell's blasts had the Bobcats frustrated but the work paid off.
"You have to move into those hard serves, otherwise that ball is coming off your arms and you're flailing," Rochon said. "That's what we worked on a lot."
Florence is seeking its first trip to state. Newman's history shows four appearances there.
"When you talk about high school sports, it is always your goal and you are always trying to prepare your team for (going to state), because it is such a great experience, for our players, coaches and the school," Lange said. "All the extra work and time in the gym is worth it when you make it down there. That is why we come to the gym every day because you see that goal in sight."
Florence-Newman winner will play Hillsboro or Potosi in the state semifinals at 10 a.m. Friday at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Five of the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association's state-ranked Divison 4 teams, including No. 3 Newman, are still alive in the state tournament. Burlington Catholic Central stands No. 1, followed by No. 4 Luck, No. 5 Clayton and No. 7 Hillsboro.
Unranked Florence dropped No. 8 Wabeno.