Megan Pfundstein and Kiersten Cote took control just like they’ve done so many times this season.
The two senior standouts for the Kellenberg girls volleyball team shared the spotlight Friday night at St. Dominic, propelling the top-seeded Firebirds to a 26-24, 25-22, 25-16 win over No. 2 St. John the Baptist in the CHSAA championship.
Pfundstein, who was named the CHSAA Player of the Year after the match, had 36 assists and five kills. Cote, the championship MVP, had 20 kills and 16 digs.
“We have some tremendous leadership out there,” coach Cathy von Schoenermarck said of her only two returning starters from last season’s CHSAA and state championship team. “They empower each other by the chemistry they have.”
Pfundstein and Cote were anchors and mentors for a team that took some time to find its footing early in the season. Von Schoenermarck cited “rhythmic issues” that needed to be worked on, but once the Firebirds clicked, they were a force.
“Of course there’s going to be a learning curve for every season, but everyone really pulled their part and I’m proud to be a part of it,” Pfundstein said.
The Firebirds and Cougars split the season series 1-1, with both matches ending 3-2. Much was learned from those close bouts against St. John’ the Baptist (13-3), as Kellenberg (13-2) played nearly error free.
Tremendous efforts from Morgan Staab (five blocks, five kills), Cote and Pfundstein willed Kellenberg to a win in a first set mostly led by St. John the Baptist. In the second, contributions from Mary Weissler (15 digs, seven kills) turned the tide in her team’s favor.
Alyssa Boll (16 digs) set the tone in the third, and Trinity Manning (nine kills) was crucial in the middle. Naturally, the match and championship was locked up with a kill from Cote assisted by Pfundstein.
“We came out here and did not let one ball drop,” Cote said. “We worked for every point, and we came out here knowing we didn’t want it to go 3-2. We wanted to make a statement.”
A statement is exactly what they made despite a relatively inexperienced group of players who didn’t start consistently before this season. Still, they overcame and conquered.
“Our sum is greater than the individual parts,” von Schoenermarck said. “When you foster that as a culture, you get to do incredible things from August through November.”
The Firebirds will contend for the state CHSAA championship next Saturday at St. Francis Prep.