Wauwatosa West's boys volleyball team couldn't have asked for a better regular-season finale.
Not only did the Trojans get to prepare for the postseason against a state-ranked team, but they gained momentum by taking down sixth-ranked Middleton in five sets (25-23, 20-25, 15-25, 25-22, 15-13) on Oct. 25.
"This was an exciting and much-needed match against a very solid team," Wauwatosa West coach Kyle Sikora said. "This is exactly what we needed as we prepare for sectionals. It was a back-and-forth battle all night."
After taking the first set 25-23, the Trojans fell into a 2-1 hole by dropping sets of 25-20 and 25-15.
" We came out very strong in the first set with excellent passing and quickly established the middle," Sikora said. "The second and third games were the opposite. Our passing was off, and we could not find our rhythm."
Wauwatosa West recovered to take the fourth set, 25-15, before pulling out a 15-13 victory in the decisive fifth set.
Senior John Frank finished with 12 kills and 26 digs. Junior Danny Belknapp had 41 assists, senior Tyler Schackmuth had three aces and senior Alou Dillon blocked five shots.
"John Frank was a defensive machine all night," Sikora said. "He once again stepped up and made huge plays at critical moments of the match.
"Danny Belknapp did a nice job spreading the ball out and getting all of our hitters involved. The seniors on this team are starting to step up when needed."
As the top seed in its sectional, Wauwatosa West received a first-round bye in the tournament. The Trojans were scheduled to host fourth-seeded Pius XI in a sectional semifinal Tuesday, Nov. 1.
If Wauwatosa West were to get past the Popes, it would play the winner of second-seeded Wauwatosa East and third-seeded Brookfield East in a sectional final Thursday, Nov. 3, at Wauwatosa East High School.