Brooke Mosher grew up in the shadows of two successful volleyball playing sisters, both of whom left Waterloo High School with state championship medals.
Madeline and Claire Mosher, both currently playing at Marquette, were part of the powerhouse Pirates teams that won back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015.
As Madeline and Claire were helping the school win gold trophies, Brooke was in middle school, dreaming of the day when she might lead her team to the state championship.
She's happy that her sisters reached the pinnacle in high school volleyball. But she hopes her time is now.
"I'm not jealous of my sisters, but it would be nice to have one of my own," Mosher said earlier this week as the Pirates (31-10) prepared for their WIAA Division 3 state tournament semifinal against La Crosse Aquinas (30-3), set for 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon.
The Pirates are seeded second in the four-team field behind Howards Grove (42-4), which opens against Fall Creek (40-3).
Waterloo earned the second seeding in Division 3 despite having as many losses (10) as the other three qualifiers combined. A look at the Pirates' match-by-match record, however, shows that Waterloo has yet to lose a match to a Division 3 opponent this season.
Waterloo's 10 losses include three to Union Grove and single losses to Appleton North and Wisconsin Lutheran, each of which advanced to state this year in Division 1 or 2. Waterloo also swept Howards Grove in a match earlier this season.
"Playing those better teams made us better," said Joslyn Wolff, an outside hitter who earned honorable mention all-state honors last year. "It improves how fast we play on offense and defense. We just improved playing against those better teams."
Not that the Pirates needed much seasoning. After qualifying for state in 2017, the Pirates missed out on reaching Ashwaubenon last year, falling in a sectional semifinal to Lake Country Lutheran. But the team returned plenty of talent from a team that finished 27-11.
The Pirates didn't hang their heads. Not with Mosher and Wolff, both incoming juniors, headlining the list of returnees. Mosher, who committed to the University of Illinois as a sophomore, is one of the top players in the state regardless of division.
The young and talented roster got added boosts from sophomore libero Michaela Riege, who returned as one of Waterloo's most improved players, and the emerging freshman tandem of Sophia Schneider and Rylee Duessler.
"That loss against Lake Country last year really stung," said Waterloo coach Christy Mosher, Brooke's mother, who is in her second season as the varsity head coach. "They were a great team and we gave it our best shot, but after the match we were ready to get back in the gym. I knew we'd be ready."
Brooke Mosher and Wolff got a taste of what it's like to play at the Resch Center as freshmen in 2017, when Waterloo last qualified. But this will be the first action there for Riege, who grew up watching the older Mosher sisters win state titles and become role models. After spending those formative years in the stands, she's ready to experience state from the floor.
"I always watched the Moshers, and now playing with one is obviously super fun," Riege said. "It was so fun watching those teams at state. I was getting super nervous when they told me about the experience of running on the court for the first time. It should get my blood pumping."