Rebels win playoff opener to keep their best season in 20 years alive

Published 9:08 pm Monday, October 23, 2023

ADAMS – The Rebels celebrated one of their best seasons in a long time as they started strong in a dominant sweep by scores of 25-5, 25-10, 25-17 over No. 20 seeded Schaeffer Academy (0-19 overall) in a Section 1A Tournament opener in Adams Monday night.

The No. 13 seeded Rebels started the first game on a 6-0 run as Maren Weherenberg served two early aces and the team never looked back.

The win was just as emotional as it was exciting for seniors like Katelyn McCabe, who had six kills, six blocks, eight digs and two aces in her final home match as a Rebel volleyball player.

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“It’s obviously sad. Volleyball is my favorite sport and now we’re hoping to beat Spring Grove and keep playing,” McCabe said. “I hadn’t really thought about not playing here again until now. We came in wanting to have fun together, but we also had to stay focused.”

Southland will play at No. 4 Spring Grove in a Section 1A match at 7 p.m. Thursday.

This is the first time that Southland (16-7 overall) has won double-digit matches in a decade and this is the winningest season in two decades for the Rebels.

“I couldn’t be more ecstatic about this team and their energy and work ethic,” Southland head coach Michelle Nelsen said. “They’re definitely elevating our whole game and their role models for our youth as well.”

Southland senior setter Julia Kiefer finished with eight set assists in the match. She’s enjoyed winning matches in front of the home fans this year.

“We always have fans here and we have a great hometown backing. It’s going to be sad not being able to play here again,” Kiefer said. “It’s been really fun this year and the hitters have been great. Working together has made us so much better.”

Southland stats: Maren Weherenberg, 8 set assists, 6 aces; Shannon Kiefer, 5 aces, 4 kills; Ava Payne, 5 aces; Breeley Galle, 3 ace blocks; Katelyn McCabe, 2 ace blocks, 6 blocks, 6 kills, 8 digs; Julia Kiefer, 8 set assists