Lewiston-Altura's match Tuesday against Caledonia is more than just a key Three Rivers Conference tilt. It’s an opportunity to plant the Cardinals' flag as one of the best teams in a tough Class 1A, Section 1 field that includes No. 5-1A Mabel-Canton and No. 9-1A Medford — the defending state champion.
The Cardinals won 20 games a year ago and still didn’t get past the section quarterfinals.
Lewiston-Altura improved from 13 victories in 2017 to 20 in 2018, but it still doesn’t have that victory over the heavyweight to prove it belongs with the best, which is what the Cardinals (13-5, 7-1) hope to accomplish with a defeat of Caledonia (14-2-1, 6-0-1) Tuesday.
A win would give the Cardinals a leg up in the Three Rivers title race and boost Lewiston-Altura's confidence.
Coach Tanya LaJeune said this year’s squad, a senior-dominated lineup that's skilled, aggressive and strong in team play, is equipped to make that step. Outside hitter Ciarra McNally leads the team in kills, as she has in previous seasons, and digs and gets plenty of help from Myia Ruzek. Kylee Kreidermacher, Christa Sauer and Elise Sommer run the offense.
"We have a collection of kids who are focused on effort and getting better in practice," Caledonia coach Scott Koepke said. "It's really fun and exciting. The growth they're showing is pretty ridiculous."