Oconto defeats Bonduel in last nonconference match

Bears move on to regionals
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Leader Photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School junior Kylie Guenther and sophomore Megan Seitler attempt a double block during Tuesday’s home loss to Oconto.

Oconto defeated Bonduel in three sets Tuesday in Bonduel to close both teams’ regular season.

The match featured multiple lead changes in the first two sets before Oconto outplayed the Bears 25-13 in the final set to take the victory.

Bonduel played without its regular libero, Althea Berry, who is dealing with a possible concussion.

“We decided today to have our libero go through a concussion protocol, so the girls had to make quick adjustments in losing a key player,” coach Kim Strayer said. “That obviously will throw a team off a little bit. So I was really impressed with how my girls came together and played defense because Oconto’s the top-seeded team in our bracket, so they’re really tough.”

Bonduel (14-16, 5-4 Central Wisconsin Conference-East) fell behind 4-0 in Set 1. The Bears scored their first point on a hitting error by Oconto. Trailing 10-5, Bonduel rallied for the next six points, including a Grace Petcka kill that tied the score at 11-11. The teams battled evenly until 16-16 when Oconto rallied for the next seven points. Two Bonduel hitting errors gave Oconto the win 25-18.

Oconto (19-11, 5-3 Packerland Conference) took the first point in Set 2, but the Bears answered immediately with a Petcka kill. The Bears fell behind 10-7 lead, but two hitting errors and a Megan Zeitler attack leveled the score.

An officiating problem paused the game at 18-18. The Blue Devils rallied after the break to a 24-20 set point. After Strayer called a timeout, two Petcka kills and an Oconto hitting error pulled Bonduel within one. Bonduel made a hitting error to give Oconto the game 25-23.

“I think that long break in the middle kind of threw my girls’ focus off,” Strayer said. “So I took a timeout to just get their heads back in the match, and they produced. They fought to the very end and I’m so proud of them for that.”

The teams rallied to a 3-3 tie in Set 3 before a McKenzie Wollenberg tip gave Bonduel the lead. Oconto had set point at 24-12, but Wollenberg again scored. Mara Allen’s attack finished Oconto’s sweep 25-13.

Twenty-seven of the points Oconto gave up were hitting errors. Head coach Nancee Bucheger said it was unusual for her team.

“We were just off tonight in terms of errors,” Bucheger said. “I think miscommunication played a part, and the girls could definitely feel the energy from Bonduel, and I think that got in their heads a little. But this was overall a good, competitive match.”

Oconto’s Cora Behnke led the Blue Devils with 12 kills and 30 assists. Sarah Hubacher tallied 19 digs.

Petcka recorded seven kills for Bonduel. Brynn Reinke had 12 assists. Wollenberg tallied 14 digs followed by Zeitler with 10.

The sixth-seeded Bears hope to get Berry back for their regional opener against Laona/Wabeno at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Bonduel.