JEFFERSON — Things were falling apart at the end of the third set for the Jefferson girls volleyball team.
A 23-13 lead had dwindled into a 24-24 tie, and senior Alison Hauser came up with a big block and consistent play as the Eagles pulled off a 25-21, 25-22, 28-26 victory over Edgerton to clinch second place in the Rock Valley Conference.
“Before, in their prior years, they would have crumbled, and that would have gone to a fourth set, so the fact that they were able to keep their cool and pull it out, that’s huge in and of itself,” Jefferson head coach Kaley Jacobson said.
Jefferson gave the Crimson Tide six of the points during the decisive stretch on either hitting errors or missed serves.
So in the pressure-packed moment, turning to a senior in Hauser to keep the ball in play and have a net presence was vital.
“You could tell that she was ready to take over the match, and that was something that she hasn’t had in the past either,” Jacobson said. “She’s been able to grow a little bit (since) last year.”
With the match tied at 24, Edgerton was called for a double hit, and then Crimson Tide senior Olivia Brittan came back with back-to-back kills to take a 26-25 lead.
Jefferson junior Cassidy Spies answered with a cross-court kill before Hauser had her block on the outside.
The Eagles celebrated after a double hit was called on Edgerton, taking the final set, 28-26. Jefferson finished the season with a 7-2 mark in conference play, trailing only East Troy, which is ranked third in Division 2 in the latest Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association poll.
This is the highest finish in the RVC for the Eagles since they won conference titles in 2006 and 2007.
“At the beginning of the year, we talked a lot about consistency, and at the tail end of the season, we’ve been able to find it,” Jacobson said. “Tonight, not so hot. We just need to turn it back around and get focused on how we’ve been able to clinch this second place, and that’s just consistent play all around, a consistent mindset.”
Hauser, who finished with nine kills, had the decisive points at the end of the first set with two kills and the second set, where she had her block positioned and Edgerton’s tip hit the tape and bounced back while trying to avoid her hands.
“As that middle position, (she) is somebody that clearly can be a big threat throughout the entire match,” Jacobson said. “She has to take on that responsibility and take on that leadership role, and tonight she was able to do that, and hopefully she can carry that into our tournaments.”
Spies tallied five aces and 12 kills, both team-highs. Parker Biwer posted 21 digs, and Mariah Hall led the Eagles with 15 assists.
Claire Peachey was second on the team with 12 digs and 12 assists.
“We moved and communicated pretty well,” Jacobson said. “It was a little bit slower pace with the ball coming over. We got caught on our heels, so moving forward wasn’t our strength, but we’ll get back to that.”
Carly Rebman held Edgerton’s team-highs in the majority of the categories with two aces, 20 digs, eight kills and a block.
Kate Fox Gunderson handed out 11 assists.
Jefferson will travel to the Rock Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday with play beginning at 9 a.m. at Edgerton High School.
JEFFERSON 3, EDGERTON 0
Crimson Tide 21 22 26
Eagles 25 25 28
Kills — E Rebman 8, J Spies 12. Aces — Rebman, Fox Gunderson 2, J Spies 5. Assists — E Fox Gunderson 11, J Hall 15. Blocks — E Rebman, Hesselman 1, J Hauser, Peachey 1. Digs — E Rebman 20, J Biwer 21.