With the multitude of playmakers surrounding Kellenberg setter Megan Pfundstein, as her name demonstrates, her position can be pretty fun.
“It’s kind of my job to make sure everyone gets the sets they want,” Pfundstein said, “and I think today, we just communicated really well and we just clicked.”
And like a quarterback of a high-tempo offense in football, Pfundstein distributed passes with near perfect precision in a 25-12, 25-19, 25-14 Kellenberg victory over host Sacred Heart in CHSAA girls volleyball on Tuesday. Pfundstein recorded 39 assists — a little more than half Kellenberg’s total points — and added eight digs.
“This team definitely emphasizes there’s no ‘I’ in team,” said Mary Weissler, who had eight kills and 10 digs. “Every single ball is not earned from one player, every point is earned from everybody working together.”
Weissler, who had five aces in the first set, had her left wrist wrapped in a bandage due to bruise but that was far from the biggest pain she felt entering the match. Her cousin, Alex, passed away Friday and Weissler and the rest of her teammates had either his initials on their arm or his name with a heart.
“It was definitely emotional,” Weissler said. “I didn’t want to play scared. I wanted to come out and play strong and earn every point for Alex and the team came together.”
Kiersten Cote, who along with Pfundstein makes up the two returning starters from last season’s state championship team, led the Firebirds with 14 kills and added nine digs. She had a string of three consecutive points as Kellenberg pulled away in the third and final set.
“Everyone just puts in their work and does what we have to do to get the point,” Cote said. “We do not let that ball drop. We make sure their team has to earn their point and work as hard as they can to get that point.”
Alyssa Boll led Kellenberg defensively with 12 digs at libero, calling the three-set win a “confident booster” after losing two of three matches coming into the day. Madison Gale had a string of aces in the third set and Trinity Manning controlled the middle.
Kellenberg (6-2) finds itself in a tight race with St. John the Baptist and Holy Trinity at the top of the standings. After graduating 12 seniors last year, the Firebirds have more of an underdog mentality than in recent seasons.
“I think that this league has a lot of strong teams,” said Grace Cullen, who had nine kills, “and obviously we really want to come back and get there again this year.”
“We have a whole new team this year but I think today we really just clicked,” Pfundstein said. “It was step in the right direction and it’s just how we wanted to start the second half of the season.”