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OMAHA – For the first time all season, Papillion-LaVista had to play a fifth set in the championship match of the Omaha Westside Invitational on Saturday against Omaha Marian.
And, when the set was over, the top-ranked Monarchs won for the 31st time this season without a loss. Papillion-LaVista defeated #3 Omaha Marian 18-25, 25-23, 25-19, 12-25, 15-7 to remain a perfect 31-0 on the season while the Crusaders fell to 25-6 on the year – with four of those losses coming to the Monarchs.
Marian never trailed while steamrolling through Papillion-LaVista in the fourth set and led 12-4 early on after a block by Kelsey O’Connell. The Crusaders finished the fourth set on a 6-1 run as well to force the fifth set and seemingly had all the momentum.
In the fifth set, Sophia Terwilleger tied the score at 2-2 with a kill for Marian, but two Crusader hitting errors, kills by Priscilla O’Dowd and Katie Stephens and an ace block from Steph Gaston put the Monarchs up 7-2.
Hannah Mueller ended the Papillion-LaVista run with a kill for Marian and a Monarch hitting error made the score 7-4, but Papillion-LaVista would score the next five points to take a commanding 12-4 in the final set. Stephens had a kill and a block during the run for the Monarchs and Gaston added a block.
A kill by Papillion-LaVista’s Elena Melendez, a Drake recruit, finished off the match.
Papillion-LaVista reached the championship with a 25-8, 25-17, 25-16 win over Elkhorn in the semifinals while Marian defeated Lincoln Southwest 25-13, 25-11, 25-17 in the other semifinal.
Papillion-LaVista’s ends the regular season with a match Tuesday at Millard North before competing in the Metro Conference Tournament Oct. 27-30. Omaha Marian, meanwhile, plays at Millard West Tuesday night and then hosts Omaha Central on Thursday prior to finishing the regular season at the Metro tournament.