It took until the third game, but Northland Lutheran put a bit of a scare into Assumption during the first round of the WIAA volleyball playoffs.
After cruising through the first two games, the Royals ran into a big speed bump, before putting the Wildcats away in a Division 4 regional quarterfinal 25-12, 25-6, 25-20 on Tuesday night.
Assumption will play Thursday at No. 3 seed Greenwood, who had a first round bye in the tournament.
“In the third game, they were the team I know that they are,” Wildcats coach Jodi Neumann said.
In the first two games, Assumption’s fast starts put Northland in a hole that they couldn’t climb out of. But in the final set, Northland senior Morgan Thums did her best to make the Royals work for it.
The Wildcats’ top hitter had four kills, an ace and one tip kill in the game which saw Northland Lutheran tie the game at 20-20, before Assumption was able to regain the lead. Unfortunately, at 24-20 a Northland serve sailed deep to end the game and allow the Royals to breath a sigh of relief.
Thums finished with 15 kills, while Kaylee Turzinski dished out seven assists and Olivia Nillissen had six digs.
“We had to get back to playing Assumption volleyball and take care of the little things better in the third game,” said Assumption senior Hannah Skibba, who finished with nine kills and nine digs. “We were playing with some of the younger girls in the third game and we just had to not worry about that and adjust to them and finish the match strong.”
Assumption’s first two games, especially the second, came what seemed like almost too easy.
They Royals rolled to a quick 18-5 lead in the second set, largely due to the serving of Rachel Metz, who ran off eight straight points.
Once Assumption was up 21-5, Thums had a big block to make it 21-6, but Gina Moya served the game out.
“We got a little lax in the third game and Northland played well, and we just can’t do that against anyone,” Royals coach April Hafermann said.