On Sept. 10, the Brandon-Evansville volleyball team was swept by the Henning Hornets (14-4) on its home court. Since then, the Chargers have lost only one set in their last five matches.

Last Thursday night, they kept moving in the right direction with a 3-0 win over West Central Area (2-12).

“We love winning, and our coaches love winning which makes practices a little bit easier for us,” senior Kailee Klimek said. “We try to make everything enjoyable. One of the things we’ve really been working on is our body language. I feel like it’s really improved. We’re having a lot of fun with this team.”

B-E went on several big runs in the first set – winning 25-12 to take a 1-0 lead. After a slow start in game two, the Chargers went on a 10-2 run to force the Knights to take a timeout.

“They play with confidence and they play together,” WCA head coach Melissa Foslien said. “It’s hard to defend them when they hit so hard and so well. They’re a well-trained team.”

Mikenna Pattrin earns a point for the Chargers with a soft lob over the net on Thursday night during Brandon-Evansville's 3-0 win over West Central Area. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Mikenna Pattrin earns a point for the Chargers with a soft lob over the net on Thursday night during Brandon-Evansville's 3-0 win over West Central Area. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

After B-E won the second set 25-16, the Knights started to fight back. After trailing 8-4, the Knights rattled off four-straight points to tie the set. B-E would win the next three points before WCA added five-straight to take a 13-11 lead.

“I thought we played hard,” B-E head coach Kelly Olson said. “West Central played really well in the third set. They passed the ball well, and they were more aggressive. I think what we can take away from tonight is that when teams start playing well against us, we need to keep our composure.”

After the Chargers regained the lead, the Knights evened the score for the final time at 16-16. B-E went on to win the set 25-19 for its third consecutive sweep.

“We have been struggling as of late,” Foslien said. “We knew that Brandon-Evansville was going to be tough, so it was nice to compete with them and get into a groove in the third set.”

With six games left on the schedule, the Chargers are peaking at the right time. However, Olson still sees the areas his team needs to improve on to solidify themselves as a contender.

“Our defense is okay, and we’re working on it a lot,” Olson said. “We are focusing on blocking and passing. If we can pass the ball with consistency and get our setter up to the net, we’re in good shape. It’s those little intangibles and fine-tuning things that we’re going to have to work on. We’re at that part in the season that’s about getting over the hump. Every team at the end of the road is good. We can be there.”

Haddey Zastrow (10) and Kailee Klimek reach for a block on Ellie Herman's kill attempt on Thursday night during Brandon-Evansville's 3-0 win over West Central Area. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)
Haddey Zastrow (10) and Kailee Klimek reach for a block on Ellie Herman's kill attempt on Thursday night during Brandon-Evansville's 3-0 win over West Central Area. (Jared Rubado / Echo Press)

The Chargers have moved on from the loss to Henning in early September. They took the experience of playing one of Section 6A’s top teams and learned from it.

“We talked about that game a lot,” Klimek said. “We are working on getting better because we will play them again. Hopefully next time we come out with a win.”

Olson has watched his team develop into a cohesive unit on the court. Playing with a chip on their shoulders is something the Chargers work on every week.

“We do some leadership training and talk about some different personalities,” Olson said. “Everybody is on the same page as far as what they’re supposed to do. It’s important that they’re not just good volleyball players, but also good people. This group has been through this for about three years now since we started focusing on that mental aspect of the game.”

For WCA, Thursday night was a step in the right direction. Despite riding a 10-match losing streak, the Knights can build off of a competitive third set.

“We’ve just had some drama lately,” Foslien said. “It’s all mental right now. Tonight, I just told them that they need to have fun. We changed our lineup a little bit, and I think we are going to roll with this for a while and see what happens.”

B-E 3, WCA 0

(25-12, 25-16, 25-19)

B-E- Kailee Klimek 1 ace, 6 kills, 5 digs; Bailey Schaefer 3 aces, 19 kills, 7 digs; Kristen Kokett 3 set assists, 7 digs; Brittany Korkowski- 1 ace, 3 kills, 1 set assist, 7 digs; Mikenna Pattrin- 9 kills, 1 block, 2 digs; Boris Jacobson- 1 ace, 2 digs; Korrie Randt- 1 ace, 3 kills, 35 set assists, 5 digs; Haddey Zastrow- 2 kills, 1 block; Gretchen Bredberg 4 digs;

WCA- Brooke Anderson 1 ace, 8 digs; Liz Rustan 1 ace, 7 kills; Kaleigh Anderson 11 set assists; Hailey Bennett 5 set assists, 8 digs, 5 kills; Ellie Herman- 8 digs, 4 kills, 2 blocks