When there are three contenders in a conference, often times they beat each other to prevent one team from winning the championship outright.
That's exactly what happened in the Woodland Conference in boys volleyball, as New Berlin United, Wauwatosa West and Pius XI all shared the conference title at 5-1.
New Berlin won a share of its fourth-straight, Woodland, regular-season title by claiming a 3-0 victory over South Milwaukee on Oct. 12, as New Berlin rolled to set wins of 25-15, 25-5 and 25-15.
Kyle Kraninger led United in kills with 12, while Brian Voight had 26 assists, Zach Just had three aces and Matt Obradovich blocked four shots.
"Tradition is what has been driving this team thus far this season," New Berlin coach Nick Maske said. "The team knows of the conference and state accolades of the past decade of our program. We play a very tough schedule, including some of our Woodland Conference matches and more so in our tournament schedule.
"I believe that our tough tournament schedule is what helps us continue to be a conference front runner. We are honored to share the conference regular-season title with Tosa West and Pius. But it also has been driving the team to fight harder and fix mistakes and things that haven't been doing well."
Wauwatosa West, New Berlin and Pius XI all beat Greenfield, Greendale, South Milwaukee and Shorewood. New Berlin took down Wauwatosa West (3-1), Wauwatosa West beat Pius XI (3-0) and Pius outlasted New Berlin (3-2) in five sets.
The three teams will sort themselves out at the Woodland Conference tournament scheduled for Oct. 19.
New Berlin went 2-2 at the Middleton Invitational on Oct. 15, beating sixth-ranked Kenosha Indian Trail (25-23, 23-25, 15-11) and Nicolet (26-24, 25-20) and losing to Middleton (21-25, 16-25) and Appleton North (27-25, 19-25, 25-27).
After the Woodland Conference tournament, New Berlin United will play a nonconference match against Wauwatosa East on Oct. 25 before beginning the chase for its third-straight state tournament appearance on Oct. 28.
"We are definitely in the mix of top teams in our sectional, and the team realizes that as we get later and later in the season, every team is improving and getting better," Maske said. "We are also getting better each day and working on different elements of our game that we have struggled with.
"Each week, we become more and more well-rounded. We continue to spread out our offensive attacks, and our defensive system is playing its part to make our offense strong."