GRAND ISLAND – There is a whole lot of season left to go, but it is worth noting that as of today, the Class A team with the highest NSAA point total is North Platte.
The fifth-ranked Bulldogs continued their impressive start to the season on Thursday night with a 25-20, 27-25, 22-25, 25-17 win over #17 Grand Island Northwest. The victory was the fourth of the season for the Bulldogs over a Top 20 team in the NPV Nebraska Top 25.
After pulling away to win the first set, North Platte (5-0) looked as if it would control the second set as well, taking a 12-6 lead on the Lady Vikings (5-2) on a kill by junior outside hitter Allison Kuenle.
Northwest, however, slowly chipped away at the lead and when Erin Schleicher and Allie Carlini had consecutive kills for the Lady Vikings, it pulled them within 17-14. Another kill by Schleicher – who had a team-high 12 on the night – tied it at 19-19.
Northwest got to set point at 24-23 on a kill by Carlini and again at 25-24 on a kill by Kylie Broich, but the Bulldogs tied it at 25-25 on a kill by Colorado State recruit Olivia Nicholson and then got their final two points on Lady Viking hitting errors to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
The third set was tight again, but Northwest took the lead for good in the set when Kelsey Placke put down a kill to make it 18-17 Northwest. The fourth set, however, was all North Platte. The Bulldogs tied the score at 8-8 in the fourth set on a Kaitlynn Harvey kill and Nicholson followed with a kill of her own to put North Platte up 9-8. The Bulldogs never trailed again.
#5 North Platte def. #17 Grand Island Northwest 25-20, 27-25, 22-25, 25-17.
North Platte (kills-ace serves-blocks)
Allison Kuenle 12-0-0; Jessy Hunt 8-0-3; Olivia Nicholson 17-2-4; Morgan Raska 0-0-1; Alex Neff 1-3-1; Kaitlynn Harvey 5-0-0.
Grand Island Northwest (kills-ace serves-blocks)
Kelsey Placke 6-2-1; Allie Carlini 11-0-1; Audra Cooksley 3-0-0; Allie Beckmann 6-0-2; Erin Schleicher 12-0-7; Kylie Broich 3-0-1.
Assists: North Platte 40 (Neff 38, Nicholson 2). Grand Island Northwest 32 (Broich 19, Bailey Parr 10, Schleicher 2, Jordyn Retzlaff 1). Digs: North Platte N/A. Grand Island Northwest 86 (Bachle 21).