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The unmistakable strains of the theme from "Ghostbusters" streamed from the raucous New Berlin United locker room.

The ingenious musical selection celebrated the United boys volleyball team's stunning upset of the defending state champions, the Kaukauna Galloping Ghosts, in three sets, 25-21, 25-18, 25-23, in a WIAA state quarterfinal match on Nov. 11 at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

The United, led by 13 kills from Kyle Kraninger and Zach Just and 40 assists by Brian Voight, improved to 25-11 on the season and Kaukauna, which held the second seed in the tournament, finished at 35-8.

First-year coach Nick Maske said there were several reasons for the huge victory.

"We started with strong serving and passing," Maske said. "We had a better hitting percentage in the first two sets, so that helped us get over the hump. This was by far our biggest defensive day on the digging end (with a total of 44 digs, led by Kyle Olson with 13 and Voight with 11).

"Our digs kept us in this match, and then we had some amazing offense. Our strong hitters, Kyle and Zach on the outside, and our two middles, Matt Obradovich (seven kills) and Petar Durev, were strong."

Durev did not start the season with the United but kept improving and stepped up against Kaukauna. He was named by his teammates as the Most Valuable Player of the match.

"It's cool that he's starting to get the recognition, and he is finally clicking with our setter (Voight)," Maske said.

The United finished with 47 kills as a team and compiled a hitting percentage of .308 to Kaukauna's .189.

Maske added that New Berlin had played Kaukauna twice earlier this season, so familiarity led to confidence.

"We played them in a tournament and lost 15-12 in the third (and deciding) set, and then we lost to them in their own tournament in straight sets," he said. "We knew what to prepare for. We knew that they set a slower tempo game and went high (with sets), so you have to adjust your block. I think we did a good job of that."

Kraninger agreed, adding, "We had a game plan that we wanted to come out with. We had played them twice already. We knew how to beat them, and we succeeded with the game plan. We wanted to block well because we knew that they hit well. We needed to pick up tips and we just wanted to swing hard."

The first game started evenly, with 10 ties, the last at 15-15. The United went on a 7-1 run for a 22-16 lead, then held on to win 25-21 when Kaukauna missed a serve on set point.

The United never trailed in the second game, although the Ghosts kept things close. New Berlin was up 19-14 when two kills from Kraninger and one by Durev helped build a 23-16 edge.

Ray LaMora closed out the game with a kill from the left side to make it 25-18.

Kaukauna began the third game on a hot streak, going up 7-3, but the United chipped away and tied matters at 9-9. The game went back and forth from there and was eventually tied at 22-22.

Just blasted a kill to put New Berlin ahead, but Kaukauna matched that with a kill of its own. The United scored the next point and Kraninger appropriately finished the match with a kill from the left side.

"I just think we were ready to play," Voight said. "We studied what they were doing the last two times we played them. We knew we were right there. We just looked at those matches and found out what we needed to do to win."

Kraninger said the victory was big for the New Berlin program.

"Last year, we wanted to play them in the championship, but it didn't happen," he said. "We got our revenge today."

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