It was as the coach said, "a great day to be a Franklin girls volleyball player."
Knowing that, one can only imagine Franklin's girls volleyball uniforms in 1973.
Ill-fitting hand-me-downs from the boys basketball program, no doubt.
And state-of-the-art training techniques, scouting and tournaments? No, no, those were years away yet.
But that's probably what it was like back then when the Sabers won their only other conference volleyball title prior to what they accomplished this past week, when they earned a share of the Southeast dual meet title and then the outright Southeast Tournament title last Saturday.
Sleek, well-fitting uniforms, tournaments, good training, a strong cadre of motivated seniors and an eager first-year coach in tow, Franklin is once again a champion.
"Before the tournament I told them that they have an opportunity here," coach Katie Bohen said. "They could seize it if they really wanted it. They just couldn't be complacent."
The Sabers were not, sweeping aside Racine Park (25-19, 25-15), Kenosha Bradford (25-15, 25-10) and Racine Horlick (25-13, 25-23).
However, there wasn't much celebrating afterward.
"What I really like about these kids is that they're humble in victory," said Bohen, who took over midway through the 2012 season with co-coach Miranda Martens before going in as the solo coach this fall.
"I've been to most of their matches and Katie (Bohen) has done a fantastic job with this team," said Franklin Athletic Director Sara Unertl, "and the kids are fantastic. They're a very cohesive team. The seven seniors they have on the team have taken it to a new level."
The seniors include co-captains Katie Babula (libero) and Megan Carr (rightside hitter), defensive specialist Jen Nelsen, middle hitter Elissa Herman, outside hitter Jenny Dutkiewicz, middle hitter Lexi Hamilton and defensive specialist Lana Schauer.
Babula was a setter her first two years before switching over to libero last season. She's the leader by example, while Carr, a stalwart defender on the rightside, is what Bohen calls the vocal leader ("our energy and our passion").
Yes, it was a great story all-around on Saturday. Franklin entered as tri-dual meet champions with Horlick and Kenosha Tremper and its only dual meet loss was to Tremper.
The Sabers trailed for a short time in the first match against Park and then cruised from there. They weren't seriously challenged against Bradford and in the first game of the Horlick match, it was something little short of astounding.
"They served the first point, we won it and then Jordyn (sophomore swetter Dutkiewicz) then served the next 19 points," Bohen said. "Between Jordyn serving very well and the offense serving very efficiently, we didn't give them much of a chance."
It was 20-0 before the Rebels earned a point.
The second game was more realistic, but the Sabers persevered in the end and earned themselves a title.
There were good reasons why this happened, said Bohen, who is in her fourth year with the program including two seasons as junior varsity coach.
"I believe this team is very fundamentally sound," she said. "Ninety to 100 percent of them play club outside of high school and they have a real desire to win and great communication skills on the court.
"They're also very athletic."
Bohen, who said she developed a real passion for volleyball later in life after being primarily a softball player while in high school, knew there was a potential for doing something grand this season. But she wanted to be careful.
"I set goals for them at the beginning of the season, but they were realistic goals so they needed to prove me wrong," she said. "They've carried that attitude forward. They're confident in what they do, but they're still realistic."
What the Sabers have done is not going unnoticed.
"I was really impressed by Katie (Bohen) when we played in the Burlington Invite in August," said Dann Jacobson, coach of the North Shore champion Nicolet squad. "I thought they would do well under her leadership. She will build that program into something special."
Now, Bohen and the rest of the Sabers can start upgrading those hopes. Despite the seven seniors, this is not a one and done sort of operation for this team as there is still opportunity for more conference titles in the future.
That's because the junior varsity under Martens' direction and the freshmen team, led by Amy Busby, also won Southeast dual meet titles themselves.
More great days ahead to be a Franklin girls volleyball player indeed.
WIAA regionals next
UP NEXT: Bohen felt the Sabers' fifth-seed in the WIAA Oak Creek Sectional was fair. They host Racine Park in a regional semifinal at 7 p.m. Thursday and if they win, they will be at fourth-seeded Greendale for a regional final at 7 p.m. Saturday. The sectional semifinals are Oct. 31 at Greenfield and the final, with a state tournament berth on the line, will be Nov. 2 at Oak Creek. The Sabers made the state tournament once in 1995.
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