By Paul Lecker
AUBURNDALE – The Stratford volleyball team was on the brink of elimination before a big rally saved its season.
Stratford defeated Athens 25-19, 22-25, 19-25, 25-21, 15-9, to win a WIAA Division 3 girls volleyball sectional semifinal Thursday night at Auburndale High School.
Stratford moves on to a Division 3 sectional final Saturday night at Athens against Neenah St. Mary Catholic. The match begins at 7 p.m. and the winner advances to the 2017 WIAA State Girls Volleyball Tournament at Resch Center in Green Bay on Nov. 2-4. The Division 3 state semifinals are Friday, Nov. 3, at 1 p.m., and the championship match is Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11:30 a.m.
Stratford and St. Mary Catholic have never qualified for the state tournament.
Makayla Krall had 19 kills and 11 digs, Mazie Nagel added 18 kills and 19 digs, Jadyn Dahlke had 28 assists, 10 kills and nine service aces, and Brooke Peterson had 26 assists for Stratford.