ASHWAUBENON — Finally, this year was Claire Mosher’s turn.
After playing an integral role in the Waterloo girls volleyball team’s run to back-to-back WIAA Division 3 state championships when she was a freshman and sophomore, this senior season was Mosher’s big chance to emerge from the shadow of her older sister, Madeline.
Madeline graduated in 2015 with two state titles and is now playing at Marquette University. This fall, Claire had the weight on her shoulders to bring Waterloo back to state, and the 5-foot-11 outside hitter didn’t disappoint — leading the Pirates to a sectional title and a Friday afternoon state semifinal at the Resch Center.
But the run ended there with a heartbreaking, five-set loss to the division’s top-ranked team, Hartland Lake Country Lutheran. The Lightning won 25-11, 22-25, 19-25, 25-17 and 16-14.
The eighth-ranked Pirates (22-16) were one point away from advancing to today’s championship match. But Lake Country Lutheran (40-5) scored five consecutive points to turn a 14-11 deficit into a victory.
Still, Claire Mosher had a standout match, finishing with 11 kills and a .308 hitting percentage. And her freshman sister, Brooke, stepped up in a big way with a team-high 20 kills.
“Maybe it’s just because I’m biased because I coach them, but I firmly believe these girls are the better team,” Waterloo coach Nicole Bakalars said. “I know that Lake Country is a great team and they have great players and they worked hard. And I’m not saying that they don’t deserve to win, because they do — they worked just as hard as we did — but I know that these girls are capable of more that they didn’t even show.”
Claire Mosher said the sister act was tough to follow, though it will continue via Brooke, who narrowly missed nailing fifth-set kills to keep Waterloo’s hopes alive.“Everyone looks to you because you’re one of the best players on the court and they look to you for emotional support, mental support, physical support, and it’s a lot to take on,” Claire Mosher said. “I would have never guessed how hard it was when Madeline had to do it.
“I’m so grateful that Brooke’s the next one to come up. She will have great leadership skills the next three years.”
“One of (Claire Mosher’s) goals for the season (was) to get people to know that she is her own player, and she has the ability to run the court and be a leader on the court, both in skill and volume,” Waterloo coach Nicole Bakalars said. “So, for her it was, ‘I want to get back to state because I wanted to prove that it just wasn’t because of (Madeline). It’s this year’s team, and I can help lead them there.’
“Brooke has kind of been a leader on our court the whole season, so I think this big game didn’t really faze her,” Bakalars said. “If anything, it kind of amps her and gets her more ready to go and be out there and lead the team.”
The teams are familiar with one another. They met during the regular season, with Lake Country taking a five-set victory in that match, too. In 2015, Waterloo beat Lake Country Lutheran in the state final.
Still, Waterloo had a slow start — shaking off some nerves, according to Bakalars — and was handily beaten in the opening set.
But the Pirates came out re-energized in the second set, producing an impressive attack percentage of .357 in the set, which Brooke Mosher ended with three consecutive kills. Waterloo won the third set, but Lake Country Lutheran won the fourth to force the decisive fifth set.
Brooke Mosher and freshman Joslyn Wolff combined for a block kill and sophomore Sydney Schonhoff registered a kill to put Waterloo up 13-10 in the fifth. Lake Country Lutheran senior Brooke Anderson, an Iowa State commit, then added one of her 34 kills.
Brooke Mosher answered with a kill of her own to bring Waterloo to match point, 14-11. The Lightning rattled off three straight points to tie it 14. Brooke Mosher had two opportunities for kills, but both were ruled out of bounds to give the victory to the Lightning.
Lake Country Lutheran 25 22 19 25 16
Waterloo 11 25 25 17 14
HARTLAND LAKE COUNTRY LUTHERAN (leaders): Kills (63) — Andersen 34, O’Keefe 12. Assists (61) — Schmidt 32, Howe 23. Digs (61) — Glyzewski 16, Vaughn 15, Andersen 10. Blocks (6) — Pape 2, Pavlik 1.5. Aces (17) — Andersen 9, Howe 3, Pape 2. Attack pct. — .271.
WATERLOO: Kills (41) — B. Mosher 20, C. Mosher 11. Assists (40) — C. Mosher 24, B. Mosher 13. Digs (48) — Meyer 14, Wolff 10, C. Mosher 9, Kuhl 7. Blocks (8) — C. Mosher 2, Schonhoff 2, B. Mosher 2. Aces (8) — Fitzgerald 3, B. Mosher 3. Attack pct. — .223.