The Manitowoc Lincoln volleyball team faces a tough task tonight at 8 p.m. against West Bend East in the WIAA Division 1 Volleyball sectional semifinal at Oshkosh West.
The No. 3 seeded Ships (28-7) have won eight of their last nine matches while the No. 2 Suns (21-6) are ranked No. 7 in the state in D1 and riding a five-game winning streak.
“From everything we’ve heard so far they (West Bend) is a notoriously scrappy team,” said Lincoln coach Mary Beth Dixon. “We’ve been preparing our girls in practice to anticipate the ball coming back when you least expect it. West Bend will get digs most teams can’t so we have to be on our toes.”
East also has defeated two top-10 teams this season by knocking off Neenah (No. 3) and Watertown (No. 8). Each team has faced just one common opponent, having both swept Beaver Dam.
One key cog in Lincoln’s offense will be Mallory Dixon, who had 43 assists in the Ships 3-1 win over No. 11 Cedarburg on Saturday.
The Ships will have height advantage over the Suns, but that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily be to Lincoln’s benefit.
“Just because our girls are taller,” coach Dixon added. “We still need to play smart and not get out hustled.”
Dixon would further state the match really hinges on which defensive team shows up for the Ships.
“We played some of our best defense all year on Saturday (against Cedarburg),” Dixon said. “If we play consistent, sound defense, we have a great shot at pulling out the win.”