JANESVILLE--The Janesville Parker volleyball team was pleased with its early-season progress after winning the silver division of Janesville’s invitational over the weekend.
Middleton, however, offered a rude awakening to the Big Eight Conference season Tuesday night.
After a close first game, the Cardinals cruised to the sweep, winning 25-20, 25-10, 25-13 in the Parker gym.
“They should be in the top three in the conference,” Parker coach Andy Kimball said. “We had a great weekend, but then you come in here and kind of get snapped back to reality with one of the top teams.
“I’d rather play good competition any day. It kind of shows you where your mistakes are.”
Parker hung tight through much of the first game. It was tied 12-12, but Middleton used an 11-4 run to pull away. Parker fought back within three at 23-20, but Cardinals senior Meghan Bayer put the game away with an emphatic spike.
Middleton opened the second game on an 8-3 spurt that forced Kimball to use a timeout and seemed to take the remaining wind out of the Vikings’ sails. The Cardinals had an 18-3 run at one point, putting Parker on the defensive throughout.
The Vikings led 6-4 early in the third, but the Cardinals responded with a 10-0 run with senior Gabie Buechner serving. The spurt was highlighted by three kills from senior Logan Welti, who led all players with 10.
“We knew going in they were going to be that good,” Kimball said. “We thought if we played our game, we could’ve been a little more competitive. And there were a couple times where we made some runs.
“But we just kind of got stuck.”
Welti also led the Cardinals with a pair of assists. She and her freshman sister, Lily, were quite the formidible duo. Elizabeth Keller dished out 19 assists, and Morgan Roberts had seven digs.
Taylor Holcomb led Parker with four kills and an assist. Andrea Lawrence had 10 assists, and Sydney Peterson added three kills and an ace.
The Vikings play at crosstown rival Janesville Craig at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night.