Brent Brigson was immediately intrigued by the possibilities when Bangor High School started looking for a volleyball coach after the 2018 season.
Brigson, who works in counseling and case management at Western Technical College, had played a bit of volleyball – nothing very structured – in the past, but mainly coaching softball and women’s basketball at the time.
“Of all the sports I had coached – all the girls, all 14 and under – volleyball was the one I loved the most,” said Brigson. “And then this job opened up,
“I wasn’t looking for one, but Bangor is nine minutes from my house, I walked in and talked to them, and they gave me the job. I am delighted to be here.
Brigson’s pairing with the current roster certainly works. The Cardinals are ranked 10th in Division 4 by state coaches and prepare for a WIAA semi-final against Woneowoc-Center Thursday night in Cashton.
The winner of that match will play either Highland or Potosi on Saturday for the right to represent the section at the State Tournament in Green Bay on November 5-6.
Bangor has only been there once (1990) and is 26-8 in the semifinals.
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Brigson said he feels it could be a great season for players he’s worked with for three seasons.
“I remember the seniors this year as sophomores,” Brigson said. “And I remember thinking we could win this year and next year, but these girls as elders are going to kill him, and they are.”
Senior outside hitter Madisyn Herman leads the team at net, while senior Taylor Jacobson has flourished since transitioning from hitter to libero. Senior setter Aliyah Langrehr and junior hitter Nora Tucker also helped make this team a powerhouse.
The Cardinals beat Wolves 3-1 when they first met this season at Wonewoc, but Wolves turned the tide with a 3-2 victory over the Cardinals in the second meeting at Hillsboro.
“We played a great first set and finished them (the first time), and it was a great game because it would be 16-16 or 18-18 all the way through, then Aliyah Langrehr was going on a three or four point (serving) running, “Brigson said.” The second time was a night where we played two games, and we first played Wonewoc in the gymnasium at Hillsboro Elementary School.
“It was packed, it was crazy, and it lasted five sets. We were serving at 9-10 on the fifth and had a net, and they shut us up. They surpassed us this time.
The Cardinals fought through a four-game losing streak late in the regular season, but rallied to win four in a row.
SECTION 1: Holmen (27-2) meets Verona (32-7) in a 5 p.m. semi-final at DeForest on Thursday.
Neither team is state-ranked, but the Vikings have received an honorable mention all season. Holmen’s losses came to Luxembourg-Casco – ranked second in Division 2 – and Kettle Moraine, who is ranked eighth in Division 1. Holmen beat Luxemburg-Casco when they clashed again later in the season.
Senior Mara Schmidt leads Holmen with 222 kills, while senior Harley Bartels added 152 and 63 blocks, a team-high. Senior Ellie Kline has 496 digs, second Rayna McArdle 348 assists and senior Marissa Pederson 297 assists.
SECTION 3: Second-seeded Aquinas (28-5) will travel to Fall Creek (42-4) for a semi-final at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Blugold are ranked sixth and Crickets third by state coaches.
Aquinas only lost twice to Holmen, Waunakee, Kewaskum and Verona. The Blugold are led by Jacy Weisbrod’s 431 kills (4.9 per set), Macy Donarski’s 891 assists (9.9 per set) and Shea Bahr’s 328 recoveries (3.7 per set).