Wauwatosa East took care of business Tuesday night and now the Red Raiders are one step away from their sixth straight trip to the WIAA State Tournament next weekend.
The first-seeded Red Raiders, currently ranked fourth in the state, defeated fourth-seeded Brookfield East, 3-1, on Tuesday at home and they now travel to the Brookfield East Sectional on Thursday for a 7 p.m. match-up with second-seeded Shorewood of the Woodland Conference.
Tosa East came out and struggled in the first game to a red-hot Spartans team on Tuesday, losing 25-20.
“They were dominant in that first game,” Red Raiders coach John Simon said of the Spartans. “They were dictating the flow. Our passing stunk and I told the guys if we fix, we will win.”
Tosa East then came back and easily won the second game (25-15), going on a 6-1 run to take a 16-9 lead and go from them.
In the third game they won (25-19) and took a 2-1 lead, going on a 4-1 run to take a 21-14 lead and get some breathing room.
The final game (a 25-22 win) was a battle, as the Red Raiders took a 24-18 lead, only to see the Spartans battle back to within 24-22 before they served out of bounds to give Tosa East the win.
The Red Raiders plan was simple. They had to stop the Spartans All-Everything hitter Kyle Rohde, one of the best players in the state.
“They knew what we had to do,” Simon said. “It was exactly as I expected. We knew they would go to Rohde; they would keep going to Rohde.
“We had a blocking scheme all set up. We tried to neutralize him as best as we can. He’s very good. We put three blockers on him and he still had 20 kills. That’s a test for how good he is.”
In that first game, the Spartans played very well.
“They served very well, we didn’t pass well and they were hitting very, very well the first game.”
But the Red Raiders knew they could win the match.
“I told them it doesn’t matter, at any time in the match we can wrestle control and win it,” Simon said. “We could be up a game, we could be down a game, we could be down two games. But there will come a time we can wrestle control and we will win the match.”
Max Kilpin led the way with 14 kills for Tosa East, while Sam Ingrilli had 39 assists, Zak Sylvester had nine digs and Ben Plaisted had three blocked shots.
The Red Raiders have faced Shorewood during the regular season and have beaten them.
“They are a team with great senior leadership; they have a great libero, their setter is Ben Plaisted’s cousin (Ken).
“They are scrappy and well-coached — Kevin Gemignani is a former Tosa East guy and he has them playing very well.” They are hot."