BRODHEAD - Now that's what you'd call a good start.
The Brodhead Cardinals started their Rock Valley Conference season off with a sweep over rival Big Foot Tuesday night, defeating the Chiefs 25-22, 25-13, 25-19 in surprisingly routine fashion.
Brodhead three-headed monster of Abbey Johnson, Katie Goecks and Lexi Oliver combined to stymie the Chiefs' attack while making plays themselves.
Johnson, a Viterbo commit, was all over the floor as per usual. The senior finished the match with 13 assists, 13 digs, six kills, three blocks and a pair of aces.
Oliver and Goecks, a talented middle, each finished with seven kills in the sweep.
Brodhead coach Erin Kammerer said she was pleased with her team's performance.
"I'm super happy for these kids to be able to start out with a conference win," Kammerer said. "We were able to protect our home floor and played well in front of a great crowd."
The Cards jumped out to an 11-5 lead in the first game before the Chiefs came storming back. Brodhead closed the game with a late flurry, setting the tone for the remainder of the match.
"Winning the first game was big, but was even bigger was being able to start the second game well and really getting after it," Kammerer said. "We didn't wait for something to happen, we made it happen. We were able to serve to spots, which definitely gave us an advantage,"
Johnson said the team has come together in impressive fashion thus far, with Tuesday's win coming three days after finishing second in their own invitational.
"We definitely have worked very hard in the preseason," Johnson said. "I love everyone on this team's work ethic. We've really gotten after it. Our tournaments have been pretty strong. We've had some up and down moments, but tonight we came out and played consistent and strong all night."
Oliver said the team's ability to work together was a key.
"We just stayed positive the entire night," Oliver said. "We didn't point any fingers when anybody made a mistake. We picked them up and put it away before the next point. The serving was really good tonight, too. I think this win will give us a lot of confidence in each other."
The story for Big Foot wasn't nearly so rosy. The Chiefs struggled all night with unforced errors and started slowly in each game.
"We could not overcome ourselves tonight," Big Foot coach Caitlin Dowden said. "We gave up 15 points in game one between hitting errors and serving errors, and you can't make that up against a solid team that came to play. I think that was the story all night. Every time we'd catch a break, we'd serve one in the bottom of the net, so we never had a chance to build any momentum."
Dowden said the team had some terrific moments in the preseason, but lacked consistency.
"We've been very hot and cold," Dowden said. "We started rough in the Janesville tournament, then turned it on. We did the same thing in a triangular that we played in. You just can't do that in a best-of--five match when you don't have another one to follow. We have to figure out how to turn it on right away and not wait until it's too late."