Wauwatosa East battled a scrappy Shorewood team Thursday night and emerged with a 3-1 victory and the WIAA Sectional Championship at Brookfield East.
The Red Raiders, who were down 25-24, won the first game, 27-25, but Shorewood bounced back to win the second game, 25-19 to even the match at 1-1.
But the Red Raiders, who were making their sixth straight trip to state, won the third match easily, 25-16, to take a 2-1 lead.
Coach Kevin Gemignani fired up his young Greyhounds, who only had four seniors on the team, and they battled the Red Raiders before losing a thriller, 30-28.
"We're an athletic team, but we're small," Gemignani said. "They're an athletic team, but they're big."
Seniors Max Kilpin and Zak Slyvester each had 15 kills for the Red Raiders, while Sam Ingrilli had 48 assists. Sylvester added 11 digs and senior Ben Mihelich had nine.
For Shorewood, Adam Mueller had 21 kills and Karl Apfelbach had eight. Seniors Adam Kessenich had 17 digs and Ken Plaisted had 38 assists playing their final match with the Greyhounds.
East coach John Simon said his team's experience - seven seniors - paid off in the end.
"You could see that we have been there before," he said. "In that last game they (Shorewood) were a little nervous at the end. They hit the last two shots out of bounds.
"It never gets old," Simon said about going to state. "This is what you play for."
Tosa East plays Germantown at Wisconsin Lutheran College at 5 p.m. Friday in the WIAA State Boys Volleyball Tournament.