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BELLEVUE – Four of the last five teams to start the season as champions of the Bellevue Invitational have finished the season as Class A state champions. That has to make #2 Papillion-LaVista like the outcome from this weekend even more.
Papillion-LaVista lost just one set in six matches en route to the championship Saturday, which it claimed with a 25-14, 25-19 rout of Western Christian of Hull, Iowa, in the finals.
To get there, the Monarchs defeated #1 Omaha Marian in the semifinals 25-17, 22-25, 25-16 and last-year’s champion Millard North 25-18, 25-15 in the quarterfinals. Yesterday in pool play, Papillion-LaVista swept Omaha Westside, Omaha Gross and Papillion-LaVista South.
Western Christian, which finished second in Class 2A in Iowa a year ago and is considered one of the top teams to watch in the national rankings by PrepVolleyball.com, needed three sets to get past Millard South in the quarterfinals and to beat Lincoln Southeast in the semifinals before running into the Monarch buzz saw.
In the first set of the championship match, Papillion-LaVista got out to a 3-0 lead, but Western Christian battled back to take a 9-8 lead on a kill by 6-foot-2 junior Kaira Moss. Papillion-LaVista took the lead back for good at 12-11 on a Priscilla O’Dowd kill as the Monarchs finished the set on a 14-3 run.
Papillion-LaVista never trailed in the second set. The Monarchs led 8-5 before getting a kill from Katie Stephens, a pair of blocks from freshman Sydney Fitzgibbons and a kill from Elena Melendez to go up 12-5. From that point on, Western Christian never got closer than four points.
3rd place match: Omaha Marian def. Lincoln Southeast 26-24, 27-25
5th place match: Papillion-LaVista South def. Omaha Skutt 25-20, 25-22
Millard North, Millard South – tied for 7th
9th place match: Omaha Westside def. Omaha Gross 25-12, 25-20
11th place match: Lincoln Northeast def. Omaha Central 25-20, 25-23
13th place match: Bellevue West def. Sioux City Heelan 25-13, 25-22
Omaha Burke, Bellevue East – tied for 15th
#2 Papillion-LaVista def. Western Christian 25-14, 25-19
Papillion-LaVista (kills-blocks-ace serves)
Steph Gaston 1-0-0; Elena Melendez 3-0-1; Jess Peters 1-1-0; Katie Stephens 5-0-0; Priscilla O’Dowd 7-5-0; Sydney Fitzgibbons 3-2-0.
Western Christian (kills-blocks-ace serves)
Karsyn Winterfeld 2-0-0; Erika Feenstra 3-0-0; Kenzie Bousema 4-0-0; Kaira Moss 7-0-0; Ema Altena 7-1-0.
Assists: Papillion-LaVista 19 (Peters 19). Western Christian 21 (Jamie Gesink 19, Feenstra 2).