Athlete of the Week: Chippewa Falls Volleyball Team

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- The Chippewa Falls girls volleyball team advanced to the WIAA division one sectionals for the first time since 2009 last Saturday, beating Hudson in the regional final... Sportscene 13's Bob Gallaher has more on the Cardinals in this week's Gordy's Athlete of the Week...

"We've been taking it game-by-game and our practices have been pretty intense lately, we've been trying to prepare the best we can for each team" says senior Maddie Grinnell.

Chi Hi picked up their 30th win of the season in knocking off the Hudson Raiders in the regional final, now the Lady Cards set their sights on this week's sectional championship... coach Tim Upward gives credit to his four seniors in getting Chippewa Falls this far, including Mercedes Antolak.

"It's been pretty great, we lost our first tournament of the year, most of our three losses, but we're really going up hill so that's a good thing. So I'm really excited for Thursday because I think we can do it."

"That we never give up," says Maddie Grinnell, " we never get down on ourselves, and we are all friends on the team, haven't had any conflicts and we all get along really well so that helps a lot."

The seniors have had plenty of help from their supporting cast... But Tim Upward also knows that junior libero Deanie Schaller has been the catalyst in what has been a stingy Chippewa Falls defense...

"I think she has over 600 some digs this season, over 1500 in her career now, and it really goes a long way, if you don't have defense, you're not going very far in the playoffs, and the motto is out there, defense wins championships, and she certainly provides that for us. If we don't have a good ball coming up, we're certainly not feeding our offense the way that we've been this year."

The Cardinals square off against Merrill in Thursday night's sectional semifinal... Just two match victories shy of earning their first ever trip to state...

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