With all due respect to those people who are looking forward to Halloween, I want to flip the schedule ahead and look at what treats we have coming the first week of November with postseason play. I realize this changes…
With all due respect to those people who are looking forward to Halloween, I want to flip the schedule ahead and look at what treats we have coming the first week of November with postseason play.
I realize this changes nearly every day, but let’s take a quick look at what sub-district and district play might look like in each of the classes.
District 1 at Millard West: Omaha Bryan vs. Millard West; Omaha Burke vs. Bellevue West.
District 2 at Omaha Marian: Lincoln High vs. Marian; Lincoln Northeast vs. Omaha North.
District 3 at Lincoln Southeast: Omaha South vs. Lincoln Southeast; Omaha Westside vs. Fremont.
District 4 at Papillion-LaVista: Omaha Northwest vs. Papillion-LaVista; Lincoln East vs. Papillion-LaVista South.
District 5 at Lincoln Southwest: Bellevue East vs. Lincoln Southwest; Omaha Central vs. North Platte.
District 6 at Millard North: Kearney vs. Millard North; Norfolk vs. Millard South.
District 7 at Lincoln North Star: South Sioux City vs. Lincoln North Star; Omaha Benson vs. Grand Island.
In Class A, the seven district winners and one wild card advance to state and this year’s postseason promises to be a lot of fun for fans and an evening of terror for coaches. Here is what I consider some of the more interesting situations as it stands today:
- Omaha Marian has a landmine in its district by the name of Lincoln Northeast. The Rockets are more than capable of beating anyone on any night. It’s a tough draw for the #2 overall seed in this hypothetical scenario.
- How about three-time defending champion Papillion-LaVista South being in its cross-town rival’s district. Throw in the fact that Lincoln East has proven that it is a dark horse team to get to state, and District 4 provides the best one-night entertainment of all the districts.
- Lincoln Southwest gets a couple landmines in its district as well with Omaha Central and North Platte. Both are talented, scrappy teams that are capable of pulling a major upset.
- A trip to state on the line in a match-up between Millard North and Millard South in District 6 would be electric.
- Speaking of electric match-ups, the same would go for a Lincoln North Star-Grand Island district final. Lincoln North Star downed the Islanders 2-1 at the Millard North Invite early in the season, but Grand Island came to Lincoln and took a 3-2 win against the Gators three weeks ago. Both teams are actually capable of winning the state title – it would be a shame to see one of them not make it there.
Class B is moving to a new format this year with a “sub-state” round. There are eight districts of four teams with the eight district champions and eight wild card teams advancing to sub-state. Those 16 teams will then be re-seeded after district play is over with the top eight teams each hosting a sub-state match with those winners advancing to state.
On paper, at least, this is good for high school volleyball in Nebraska this year. If the old format were still in use, many of the best teams wouldn’t be going to state simply because of how the districts are set-up. The teams in these districts are already set and despite there being eight districts, all of the top 10 teams are crammed into four districts.
In District B-2 you have #4 Omaha Skutt, #8 Elkhorn South and #9 Elkhorn. In District B-4 is #3 Waverly and #7 Gretna. District B-5 has #2 Lincoln Pius X, #5 Norris and #10 Beatrice while District B-6 features #1 Grand Island Northwest and #6 Aurora.
In the past, at best only six of those teams could have reached state. Now, theoretically, they will all likely qualify for sub-state, which looks like it is the best system for getting the best eight teams to state, which is a win-win for teams and fans alike.
Classes C & D
Classes C-1, C-2, D-1 and D-2 maintain the system of 12 sub districts in each class with the 12 sub district winners advancing to a district championship. The six district champions and two wild cards comprise the state-tournament field.
This creates clusters of extremely difficult paths to state and some that are less challenging. Here’s a look at the intriguing paths some teams have.
In the Class C1-3 & 4 districts, only one team can emerge out of #3 Omaha Concordia, #4 Wahoo and contenders DC West and Bishop Neumann. But before you feel sorry for them, take a look at the battleground in Class C1-9 & 10.
In those sub districts you have #2 Minden, #5 Grand Island Central Catholic, #8 Kearney Catholic, #10 St. Paul and contenders such as Wood River, Centura and Broken Bow. Realistically, no more than two teams from that grouping will make it to state.
In Class C-2, sub districts 5 & 6 bring together #3 Humphrey-Lindsay Holy Family, #7 Shelby-Rising City, #10 Lutheran High Northeast and contender Stanton. In Class C2-8, you should have a rematch between #1 Hastings St. Cecilia and #9 Blue Hill. Earlier this year the Hawkettes needed five sets to outlast Blue Hill. Superior, ranked #4 in C-2, sits on the opposite side of St. Cecilia and Blue Hill in the district and on the road to state.
In Class D-1, sub districts 7 & 8 will be a mini state tournament themselves, with #1 St. Mary’s, #4 Ansley-Litchfield, #9 Twin Loup and #10 CWC all battling for one state-tournament berth. Even Class D-2 will feature a state-title worthy match in district play as there is a strong likelihood #1 Bertrand will face #3 Giltner D2-4 district title.