Wauwatosa East playing the in WIAA State Boys Volleyball Tournament is old hat for the Red Raiders, who are making their fifth straight trip this weekend.
This is their sixth overall appearance, but they have appeared in the tournament a few other times when it was not officially sponsored by the WIAA. The tourney resumed in 2000 after an 18-year absence because of low participation from 1983-1999.
Wauwatosa High School appeared twice (1947, 1953) when there was just one school, while East made appearances in 2002 and the last five years.
Tosa will be looking to taste some success after being swept in the first round the last two years by Marquette (2009) and then Middleton (2008).
Tosa East beat Appleton North in a 5-game thriller in the first round in 2007, but gave it up to the Hilltoppers in 5 games after having a 2-0 lead - a painful loss to watch if you're a Raiders fan - especially since Marquette went on to win the title.
Of course, in 2006, the Raiders were the state champs, sweeping Middleton, rallying from 0-2 to beat Appleton North and then using that momentum to sweep Catholic Memorial for the title.
On Friday night the Raiders (32-6) have to be careful not to have a letdown against a hot Greendale team which only has a 13-14 record. East is coming off an emotional sectional title win over Tosa West and the Panthers won't lay down for them. I'm sure senior captains Aaron Uden and Alex Conway will have the Raiders ready to play.
The third-seeded Panthers swept Racine Park, beat second-seeded Horlick in four games and then beat fourth-seeded Greenfield in five games to get to state.
Then, of course, the powerful Hilltoppers (37-6), who swept two foes to get to state, will be waiting for them, as long as they get by a talented Franklin team (30-7).
The tourney starts with those games at 5 p.m. and the second games with Nicolet (27-10) vs. Westosha Central (24-6) and Kaukauna (21-6) vs. Catholic Memorial (28-3) at 7:30 p.m. Friday night at Wisconsin Lutheran College, as good a venue as you will find.
Don't miss it!