The 2023 NSAA State Volleyball Championships began on Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena and the NEBPreps team has you covered with highlights and standout performers from the Class B, C1 and A quarterfinals.
No. 1 Norris 3, No. 8 Scottsbluff 0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-15)
Scottsbluff really made Norris work in the second set, but the Titans closed it out strong and cruised through the first and third sets to advance to the semifinals.
Junior Anna Jelinek, a Long Beach State commit, had a big day for the Titans, finishing with 17 kills and 14 digs while hitting close to .300. Junior Zoe Rademacher added 11 kills while junior Kendall Cose chipped in nine kills. Freshman Malorie Boesiger dished out 38 assists while senior defensive specialists Alivia Hausmann and Sydney Guthard brought the heat from the service line with four and three aces, respectively.
The win was career No. 500 for head coach Christina Boesiger.
No. 2 Elkhorn North 3, No. 7 Seward 0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-14)
The Wolves made short work of the Bluejays as well, winning by double digits in all three sets. Senior Ava Spies led the way with 19 kills, nine digs and three aces. Freshman middle blocker Reagan Wallraff terminated 11 times while senior setter Reese Booth, a Northern Iowa commit, dished out 42 assists to go with nine digs.
No. 4 Bennington 3, No. 5 Gretna East 0 (25-18, 25-18, 25-22)
The Badgers put together multiple double-digit serving runs in the match and pulled off a big comeback in set three to end the Griffins’ inaugural season in a sweep.
After winning each of the first two sets by seven, Bennington fell behind 15-8 in set three thanks to some high-error play. However, after a sideout, freshman Millie Mauch served 10 straight times to quickly erase the deficit and put the Badgers up by three.
After Gretna East tied it up at 20-all, Bennington scored three straight including two Hayden Liebsack kills. The Griffins responded with back-to-back kills from Maddie Schnell, but an attack error and a Liebsack ace closed it out.
Liebsack led the attack with nine kills while senior Huskers commit Olivia Mauch notched 23 digs to lead the defense.
Oral Roberts commit Hayden Hart and Schnell, both juniors, had eight kills apiece for the Griffins.
The Badgers will take on top-seeded Norris in the semifinals set for 5 p.m. CT at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday.
No. 3 Omaha Skutt 3, No. 6 Waverly 1 (25-20, 25-21, 24-26, 25-23)
The eight-time reigning Class B champion found itself in a real battle in the first round, but after dropping a deuce game three and falling behind by five late in set four, the SkyHawks showed their championship mettle by rallying to win the set and advance.
The SkyHawks had a chance to close it out in three, but the Vikings fought back to earn set point and freshman Hallie Lauenstein got a touch on a high swing to extend the match.
Waverly jumped ahead midway through set four and led 19-14 late, but the SkyHawks dug deep and rallied to close the match on an 11-4 run including some marathon rallies late. On match point, sophomore Addison West adjusted to a slightly off-target set and took a great rip the Viking defender wasn’t able to handle.
Junior Abbie Hagedorn led the SkyHawks with 15 kills and three aces, West added 13 kills and junior Kiera Link chipped in 12 kills. Junior Meghan Anderson dished out 44 assists.
Hallie Lauenstein led Waverly with 14 kills while her twin sister Gracie added 11 kills.
Skutt advances to the 7 p.m. semifinal Friday to face No. 3 Elkhorn North in a rematch of last year’s five-set final.
No. 1 Kearney Catholic 3, No. 8 Syracuse 0 (25-23, 25-15, 26-24)
The top-seeded Stars survived two deuce games to pull off a sweep against a scrappy Syracuse squad.
Senior middle blocker Londyn Carnes led Kearney Catholic with 11 kills while senior pin Margaret Haarberg added nine kills and made some huge plays late in the two close games.
The Stars trailed 23-22 in the first before scoring the final three points including an ace from Haarberg on set point. The Stars took control in set two early and controlled it throughout, but the Rockets turned the tables and built a five-point lead midway through set three.
The Stars rallied to tie it up three times before taking a 23-22 lead. Three straight sideouts made it 24-all, then Haarberg closed it out with back-to-back kills to send the Stars to the semifinals.
Senior Delainey Cast posted a match-high 15 kills for Syracuse.
No. 2 Minden 3, No. 7 Grand Island Central Catholic 0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-14)
The Whippets pulled out a tough first set then dominated sets two and three to dethrone the reigning C1 champions in the first round.
Junior Mattie Kamery posted a monster stat line for the 34-1 Whippets, finishing with 20 kills, 14 digs, 11 assists, six aces and two blocks. Linden’s lone loss this season is to Kearney Catholic.
Senior Madison Schneider led the Crusaders with 12 kills. Central Catholic finished 26-4 on the year with the four losses coming to the class’s top two seeds, Kearney Catholic and Minden.
No. 5 Pierce 3, No. 4 Malcolm 2 (22-25, 25-23, 23-25, 25-20, 16-14)
The 3 o’clock window provided the most competitive volleyball of the day as both matches went the distance.
Three of the five sets in the 4-5 matchup were deuce games as the Bluejays only topped the Clippers by four in the aggregate scoring. The teams alternated set wins then found themselves tied up at 14-14 in the fifth.
That’s when senior Jaya Waccholtz stepped up, terminating on the next two rallies to send Pierce to the semifinals. She finished with a team-high 22 kills.
Junior Skyler Scholting notched a double-double with 49 assists and 10 digs while senior Maggie Painter finished with 20 digs and three aces.
Sophomore Halle Dolliver, the state’s leader in kills, went down swinging, finishing with 38 kills and 19 digs, but it wasn’t quite enough. Fellow sophomore McKenna Powell recorded 55 assists, six digs, three aces and three blocks.
Pierce advances to the semifinals to take on No. 1 Kearney Catholic on Friday at 1 p.m.
No. 3 Gothenburg 3, No. 6 Platteview 2 (18-25, 25-21, 29-31, 25-22, 15-11)
The upset-minded Trojans struck first for a 1-0 lead then out-lasted the Swedes in the longest set of the day to pull ahead 2-1, but Gothenburg showed tremendous resiliency bouncing back from the 31-29 loss to win the last two sets and advance.
Game five was up for grabs late with the Swedes leading 11-10, but they outscored the Trojans 4-1 the rest of the way to punch their ticket to the semis.
Senior Clara Evert led the Swedes with 24 kills including one from the back row on match point. Senior Aubrey O’Hare mixed it up between distributing and attacking, finishing with 35 assists and 13 kills. Junior Taryn O’Hare chipped in 11 kills.
Senior Lexi Hans put up a match-high 26 kills and three blocks for Platteview. Junior Abree Plueger added 17 kills while senior Kate Roseland chipped in 11 kills.
Gothenburg will face No. 2 Minden on Friday at 3 p.m. in the semifinals.
No. 8 Papillion-La Vista 3, No. 1 Papillion-La Vista South 1 (25-23, 25-19, 26-28, 25-23)
When Papillion-La Vista handed Papillion-La Vista South its first and only loss of the regular season in five sets on Oct. 18, the victory probably deserved an asterisk of some sort — Papio South’s senior setter/hitter Charlee Solomon missed the match with an injury.
No such asterisk belongs on Wednesday’s win as the Monarchs took down a full-strength Titan team in four sets — three of them deuce games — to send the two-time reigning champion home on day one.
With game four tied at 23-all and the Monarchs holding a 2-1 match lead, Papio seniors Morgan Glaser and Mia Tvrdy stepped up to deliver the final two kills to close it out.
Tvrdy, an Oregon commit, led the way with 19 kills while Glaser added 16 kills and junior Lilly Pillay chipped in 10. Senior Reagan Hickey dished out 40 assists. Senior libero Faith Frame, a Cincinnati commit, was everywhere all night and left everything she had out on the court to the point where she cramped up on the final point.
Papio South senior Lauren Medeck, a South Dakota commit, was quiet in the first set but took over the rest of the way, matching Tvrdy with 19 kills and and delivering in clutch moments throughout the match.
The Monarchs looked to be playing their best volleyball of the season in game one, jumping out to a 22-13 lead before the Titans ripped off a 9-1 run to pull within one. However, Papio did just enough to get out of the set then pulled away late in set two to build a 2-0 lead.
Game three was one of the best sets of the day as the teams were neck-and-neck throughout. The Monarchs earned match point at 24-21, but the Titans rallied to tie it up. Tvrdy put Papio back in front but Medeck answered and an attack error gave the Titans set point at 26-25. Pillay terminated to tie it up again, but Medeck responded and the Monarchs hit into the net on set point to end it.
The Titans used a 4-0 run to take the lead at 20-17 in set four, but the Monarchs went on their own 4-0 run to take the lead again at 22-21 and they traded sideouts until the final two kills from the Monarchs.
No. 2 Lincoln Southwest 3, No. 7 Lincoln Pius X 0 (25-17, 25-14, 25-21)
While the battle for Papio went long, the Lincoln showdown went much more quickly as the Silver Hawks rolled to a sweep.
Senior Julia Trost led the attack with 14 kills while senior Madison Rink, a Northern Colorado commit, added 11 kills. Marquette commit Malayah Long dished out 40 assists and served up two aces.
Omaha commit Faith Venable led the Thunderbolts with 10 kills while senior Sami Chesley had a double-double with 22 assists and 12 digs.
No. 4 Omaha Westside 3, No. 5 Grand Island 1 (25-21, 25-13, 23-25, 25-23)
After digging a 0-2 hole for itself, Grand Island turned things around and was on the brink of sending the mach to a fifth set where anything can happen. However, the Warriors had other plans.
Trailing 23-19 in game four, Westside closed the match on a 6-0 run capped by one of senior Eleanor Brislen’s three aces to slam the door shut on the Islanders and punch its ticket back to the semifinals.
After controlling sets one and two, the Warriors also pulled off a comeback in set three after falling behind 19-12. The Warriors ripped off nine straight to take the lead, but Grand Island settled down and managed to retake the lead then close it out with a set-point kill off the block by junior Tia Traudt.
Junior Ashlyn Paymal, a Creighton commit, led the Westside attack with a match-high 19 kills. Sophomore Madeline Lamb added 10 kills.
Senior Heady Hoos led Grand Island with 17 kills while Traudt, a UNLV commit, added 12. Senior Jaylen Hansen posted a match-high 25 digs while junior Jaysa Wentzlaff notched a double-double with 33 assists and 13 digs.
Westside will take on No. 8 Papillion-La Vista in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m.
No. 6 Bellevue West 3, No. 3 Lincoln East 2 (16-25, 25-21, 14-25, 25-18, 20-18)
Lincoln East needed just one more point to punch its ticket to the semis. After a back-and-fourth match, the Spartans had match-point at 14-11 in the fifth.
However, the Thunderbirds weren’t ready to call it a night, citing what had been a five-point deficit at 11-6 down to three, then scoring three straight with the game on the line to force extra points. The teams went back and forth, going point for point, until Lincoln East finally blinked on Bellevue West’s match point opportunity with a net violation.
Senior Kayla Eggiman took some big swings in he fifth set and led the Thunderbirds with 15 kills while junior Tessa Reitsma chipped in 11 kills.
Senior Brynne Topolski posted a match-high 23 kills for the Spartans while senior Shandy Faali added 15 kills and four aces.
The fifth set was the only one that was truly close as the match saw som wild swings throughout the night. In the end, however, the Thunderbirds executed in the clutch and earned a trip to the semifinals.
Bellevue West will take on Lincoln Southwest on Friday at 7 p.m.