State Championship Saturday Recap
Class A [wpvideo erVbBZ0I] GRAND ISLAND – When Omaha Marian’s Sydney O’Shaughnessy’s kill attempt sailed long to give Millard West a 25-23 victory in set two and a 2-0 lead in the Class A state championship match Saturday afternoon, the…
GRAND ISLAND – When Omaha Marian’s Sydney O’Shaughnessy’s kill attempt sailed long to give Millard West a 25-23 victory in set two and a 2-0 lead in the Class A state championship match Saturday afternoon, the Wildcats appeared on their way to their first-ever state volleyball title.
After all, it marked the seventh consecutive set Millard West had taken from Marian on the season. It also meant the Wildcats had won 34 of their past 36 sets played.
Then the unthinkable happened.
Marian responded by winning the next three sets in heart-pounding action to take a 22-25, 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 15-12 victory.
Alexis Anderson came out blazing for the Wildcats in the fifth set as the 5-foot-11 middle got kills to account for five of Millard West’s first eight points. Kamesha Young then had two consecutive kills for the Wildcats to put Millard West up 10-8 in the decisive final set.
Then, with Millard West leading 11-10, the 5-foot-9 O’Shaughnessy got an ace block for the Crusaders to tie it at 11 and 6-foot-2 middle Kelsey O’Connell put down a kill for Marian’s next point to put the Crusaders up 12-11. The Wildcats tied it at 12-12 on a block by Anderson and Erin Sosnowchik, but that sideout meant Anderson would rotate out of the line-up for Millard West and the Crusaders took advantage of her being on the bench.
O’Shaughnessy, a UNO recruit as a setter, got a dump kill to give Marian a 13-12 lead and O’Connell put down kills in the middle for the final two points, giving the Crusaders their fifth state title and first since 2009.
In the third-place match in Class A, Papillion-LaVista defeated Lincoln Southeast 25-21, 25-16, 25-21.
GRAND ISLAND – In a matter of 48 hours, Norris went from being down 9-1 in the fifth set of the first round of the state tournament to becoming the Class B champions.
The Titans rallied from that fifth-set deficit against Waverly in the first round on Thursday, pulled the shocking upset of top-ranked Grand Island Northwest in Friday’s semifinals and then capped their run with a 25-19, 25-22, 25-22 win over Elkhorn South in the final Saturday night.
Furman recruit Kasey Hohlen, a 6-foot-1 middle, led Norris with 16 kills, including the match winner. The loss ended an incredible run by Elkhorn South in the postseason, which included an upset win at Gretna in the substate round and then upsets of Lincoln Pius X and Omaha Skutt in the first two rounds of the state tournament.
GRAND ISLAND – Following Kearney Catholic’s semifinal win over Ogallala, senior setter Shayla Conner said nothing would stop the Stars from winning a state title. Turns out she was right.
Kearney Catholic repeated as Class C-1 champions with a 21-25, 25-18, 25-13, 16-25, 15-3 win over Minden Saturday at the state tournament.
In the decisive fifth set, Minden took a 1-0 lead on a kill by Carlie Bauer, but a Whippet service error tied it 1-1 and gave the serve to the Stars’ McKenzie Smith, who wouldn’t give it up until Kearney Catholic had all but secured the championship.
Smith rattled off 12 straight for the Stars – including three consecutive aces as one point – before a net serve finally snapped her streak, but not before Kearney Catholic was up 13-2 in the final set. Paige Hervert and Courtney Shundoff each got kills on the Star’s final two points to claim the title.
GRAND ISLAND – There simply was so stopping Morgan Nikkila or Hastings St. Cecilia from capturing the Class C-2 championship at the state tournament Saturday.
Nikkila, a 5-foot-10 outside for the Hawkettes, pounded 23 kills in Saturday’s championship match to lead St. Cecilia to a 25-27, 25-14 25-14, 28-26 win over Freeman.
In the fourth set, Freeman was able to build a 14-8 lead after a pair of kills by Marissa Haynes. The Hawkettes eventually battled back and tied the set at 18-18 on a Nikkila kill. The two teams battled evenly with the score then being tied at 19, 20, 21, 23, 24, 25 and 26 until another Nikkila kill put St. Cecilia ahead 27-26. St. Cecilia then won the title on a Freeman hitting error.
Nikkila finished the state tournament with 77 kills in three matches. In the title match, teammate Lil Sheehy added 13 kills and setter Clare Hamburger had 45 assists. Carley Remmers led Freeman with 15 kills and four blocks.
GRAND ISLAND – St. Mary’s was the only top-seeded to capture a state title Saturday as the Cardinals defeated BDS 25-17, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19 for the Class D-1 crown.
Krissy Kotter, a 5-foot-8 senior outside, led the Cardinals with 15 kills and also added 22 digs. Emily Everitt added nine kills for St. Mary’s and Justine Blumenstock had a team-high three blocks.
Christina Swartzendruber head team highs in kills with 17 and digs with 30 for BDS.
GRAND ISLAND – Giltner cruised to the Class D-2 state championship Saturday with a 25-17, 25-14, 25-18 win over Stuart on Saturday.
The Hornets used a 17-9 run to close the first set and then never trailed in the second set to build its commanding advantage. Stuart made things interesting in the third set by getting out to a 11-6 lead, but Giltner against closed the set strong – this time on a 19-7 run – to win the championship.
Dani Most led Giltner with 10 kills while Darby Hinrichs and Kelbie Lyon each had six. Harlee Fischer had seven kills and three ace serves to lead Stuart.