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Mott-Regent Wildfire finish play-in match with sweep over Beach Buccaneers to advance

MOTT -- It looked as though the third set would be just as competitive as the first two, but Mott-Regent would have none of that. Already ahead 2-0 after winning 25-21 and 25-22, the Wildfire found themselves tied at 10 with Beach in the third se...

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Mott-Regent junior middle hitter Maddi Johnson blocks an attack from Beach junior outside hitter Makensie Mattern Friday night at the Mott Armory. (Press Photo by Parker Cotton)

MOTT - It looked as though the third set would be just as competitive as the first two, but Mott-Regent would have none of that.
Already ahead 2-0 after winning 25-21 and 25-22, the Wildfire found themselves tied at 10 with Beach in the third set. A 15-3 frenzy, though, gave Mott-Regent (8-9, 5-7 Region 7) the sweep in the Region 7 first round match Friday at the Mott Armory. The win extends its season and sets a date with undefeated region champion Trinity on Monday at the Knights of Columbus Activities Center.
“It feels so great,” Mott-Regent senior middle hitter Sadie Ambers said. “Those closer games, we get a little more nervous, but once we get that streak, we’re unbeatable.”
Ambers led all players with 12 kills in the match, and she added three service aces, tying teammate Sabrina Kienzle, a junior setter, for the match-high. Mott-Regent tallied nine aces in the match.
The Buccaneers (4-14-4, 3-8) saw their season end, but it wasn’t without a fight. Beach battled through the first two sets, matching the Wildfire nearly point for point. But it was two- or three-point runs that were the difference early on.
“I thought they fought really hard,” Beach head coach Caitlin Miller said, “but we didn’t hit very well in the final game, and that’s what did it. Mott-Regent has some very good hitters, some very good passers, and they just got the top end of those two sets.”
Wildfire junior outside hitter MaLynn Kautzman notched four kills and four digs, and junior middle hitter Maddi Johnson had four kills to go with two blocks.
“Everybody in our front row stepped up and had a nice game,” Mott-Regent head coach Aryn Dangerud said.
Beach senior outside hitter Brooklyn Zachmann and junior middle hitter Kaylee McIntyre had eight kills apiece for the Buccaneers. McIntyre also led all players with five blocks. The team’s only other senior, libero Bailey Weninger, had seven digs in the match.
“We were a super young team this year, and our two seniors led the way the whole time,” Miller said. “We’re very appreciative of what they’ve done for our team this year, and I think our sophomores and juniors are going to make for great leaders and play some big roles next year.”

The Wildfire now have two days to prepare for Trinity, which they face at 2 p.m. Monday.
“Trinity has a name where they’re unbeatable in everyone’s head, but we think everybody is beatable,” Dangerud said.
Ambers said the team is looking forward to another shot at the Titans after losing to them in three sets Sept. 3.
“We can’t go in there thinking that we’re going to lose or that we already lost,” Ambers said. “We’re going to go in there with a good mind and play as hard as we can and put up a good fight.”

Mott-Regent 3, Beach 0
B 21 22 13 - 0
MR 25 25 25 - 3
KILLS: B. Brooklyn Zachmann 8, Kaylee McIntyre 8, Abby Wilhelmi 2, Catie Loftsgard 2, Makensie Mattern 1. MR, Sadie Ambers 12, MaLynn Kautzman 4, Maddi Johnson 4, Ellie Messmer 3, Kaitlyn Duncan 2, Amber Friedt 2, Alyssa Myers 1, Andrea Klein 1.
BLOCKS: B, McIntyre 5, Wilhelmi 2, Mattern 1. MR, Johnson 2, Messmer 1.
ACES: B, Bree Davidson 1, Mattern 1, Zachmann 1. MR, Sabrina Keinzle 3, Ambers 3, Messmer 1, Friedt 1, Myers 1.
DIGS: B, Loftsgard 11, Bailey Weninger 7, McIntyre 2, Wilhelmi 2, Mattern 1. MR, Abbey Kautzman 5, MaLynn Kautzman 4, Ambers 3, Messmer 2, Myers 2, Friedt 2, Andrea Klein 1, Duncan 1, Johnson 1.
ASSISTS: B, Davidson 19, Zachmann 1, Wilhelmi 1. MR, Myers 11, Keinzle 6, Friedt 4, Ambers 2, Messmer 2.

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