Maddy Haedt was down with the dumps on Thursday night.
That’s why the Oshkosh West senior setter was smiling so much.
Haedt hit perfectly placed dump shots on back-to-back points late in the fourth set to spark the Wildcats’ rally to close out Kaukauna in a Fox Valley Association volleyball match.
“I went up and
“My coach had been pushing me to do it, too,” Haedt said following West’s hard-fought 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 25-22 win over the Ghosts. “I went up and I saw there was no blockers up so I thought I would go for it. We got really excited after that, cheered really hard, pushed to the end and finished it out right there.”
The two key points by Haedt, who finished 30 assists and six kills, were a part of a run of six straight points to end the fourth set after West trailed 22-19.
But after trailing in each of the first three sets, there was no let-up from the Wildcats.
“I think after we took the timeout (at 22-19) we realized that this is it and we had to push,” senior Megan Paulick said. “We all get each other pumped up and we know what’s important and when it’s important I think we can pull through.”
Allie Rueger, who paced West with 15 kills, started the run with a momentum-changing spike through a Kaukauna block. Then it was Haedt’s turn for her two key plays that knotted the score at 22 and forced Kaukauna to take a timeout.
“We have been working so hard in getting Maddy to dump and dump and dump the ball and tonight, it just energized our team,” West coach Trisha Neveau said. “That just shows it right there that it is productive.”
Kaukauna committed a hitting error out of the timeout and then West’s Taylor Skroski stuffed a Makenna Erdman spike to get the Wildcats to set point.
The Ghosts never returned Rueger’s serve and West had the win.
“I felt like we had it in us. I knew that we were going to come back,” Haedt said. “We just had to get pumped up and then we came back.”
West’s victory, which improved the Wildcats’ mark to 3-1 and has them tied for third in the FVA with Appleton East, came with some key contributions.
Paulick turned in another all-around performance finishing with six kills, seven assists and some strong play in the back row for the Wildcats.
“I think I worked a lot on my hitting this year and my back row, I just built off of that from last year,” Paulick said. “Playing all the way around takes a lot more mental (strength) and I tend to stay focused the whole game.”
Junior Danielle Dillman also came in off the West bench to provide some excellent serving — her two aces tied with Rueger for the team lead — and provided a boost with her active play in the back row.
“Megan has been that little spark on our team lately,” Neveau said. “Danielle really did step in and served aggressively and picked up a lot of nice balls.”
Oshkosh West def. Kaukauna, 25-23, 25-21, 20-25, 25-22.
OW leaders: Allie Rueger, 25 kills, 6 blocks, 2 aces; Danielle Dillman, 2 aces; Maddy Haedt, 390 assists, 6 kills, 20 digs, 3 blocks; Megan Paulick, 6 kills, 7 assists; Leah Salzer, 26 digs.