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High school volleyball: Appleton North grabs control of FVA conference

Post-Crescent (Appleton) logo Post-Crescent (Appleton) 10/4/2019 Ricardo Arguello, Appleton Post-Crescent
a couple of people on a court: Megan Piton (13) is one of the top players for the talented Appleton North girls volleyball team, which swept Kimberly on Thursday to gain control of the Fox Valley Association title chase. © Dan Powers, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Megan Piton (13) is one of the top players for the talented Appleton North girls volleyball team, which swept Kimberly on Thursday to gain control of the Fox Valley Association title chase.

KIMBERLY - The Appleton North girls volleyball team may be hitting its stride with the playoffs a few weeks away.

The Lightning certainly looked like a team firing on all cylinders during its three-game sweep of Fox Valley Association rival Kimberly on Thursday.

North defeated Kimberly 26-24, 25-20 and 25-16 to remain unbeaten in FVA play at 6-0 and is 25-9 overall. North is alone atop the Fox Valley Association as the regular season enters its final phase.

"We're just starting to get healthy," Appleton North coach Steve Scheuerell said. "And that's lucky for us because our season is backloaded with good teams: Kimberly, Oshkosh West, Neenah and Fond du Lac. All are in the top four in the conference. So this was a big test for us."

The Lightning have a potent mix of upper and underclassmen contributing and that was reflective in the final stats. Sophomore hitter Brianna Cantrell had 12 kills, seven digs and three blocks while junior setter Brooke Bolwerk added 20 assists, six digs and five aces to lead the team's attack.

Sophomore libero Madisen Miller had 20 digs with senior setter/right side Taylor Vanden Berg chipping in 10 assists and five kills. Another sophomore, hitter Bella Van Lannen, had 10 kills with freshman hitter Karissa Fortune chipping in six kills and a block.

Senior Megan Piton, sophomore Berkley Mischler and senior Livvie Asare also had fine games for the talented Lightning, ranked fourth in the latest Division 1 rankings by the Wisconsin Volleyball Coaches Association. 

"Our team is really balanced," Scheuerell said. "And it helps that we pass well and we serve well. Kimberly has a great offense, too. Last time we played them and they beat us they had us guessing a lot. So I think our serve, we really focused on getting them out of system. And when we were able to do that you can defend them easier and now we have a free ball and they had to defend our three swings. And our setters chose the real good matchups and our hitters were able to swing away."

Scheuerell added that the team's chemistry is good and that the age of the players is never an issue. 

"They're all supporting each other," he said. "In my opinion, we have some of the best 6-on-6 play in our practice in the state. We just go after each other, so therefore in games, it's just the same but now we're not playing our best friends, we're playing another team. They just really have it where it doesn't matter age, we're just playing volleyball and we love it. "

Vanden Berg said that the team "trusts" each other that it will take care of business on the court. That trust is also with the coaches and how they game plan for opponents.

"We just come in every day in practice and put in the work that we need to and focus on what we need to," she said. "Each day, Coach Scheuerell has a good plan put together and we just trust him and trust each other and just the process of trying to get better each day."

This article originally appeared on Appleton Post-Crescent: High school volleyball: Appleton North grabs control of FVA conference

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