PAPILLION – For the first time since 2007, Millard South is heading back to the state volleyball tournament.
Millard South earned its trip with a 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-17 win over Papillion-LaVista South in the Class A-6 district championship Wednesday night. Millard South improved to 26-12 in winning the district championship and will – unofficially – be the #8 seed in the tournament and take on #1 seed Papillion-LaVista at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
“We have a lot of seniors who have been playing together for a couple or three years,” Millard South coach Joanne Kappas said. “They knew this was their year and tonight they weren’t to be denied.”
Even with the loss, Papillion-LaVista South was not denied a trip to state either. The Titans, 25-15, unofficially claimed the only wild card entry in Class A based on the results of the other district tournaments. The Titans – unofficially – will be the #6 seed and will face #3 seed Omaha Marian in a 3:30 p.m. match on Thursday, Nov. 14, at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
Earlier in the semifinals of the A-6 tournament, Papillion-LaVista South defeated Omaha Benson 25-16, 25-10, 25-11 while Millard South beat Omaha North 25-9, 25-11, 25-12.
In the first set of the championship match, Papillion-LaVista South freshman Taliyah Flores had a pair of kills to help the Titans finish the set on 7-2 run to win 25-20. In the second set, the Titans took a 22-21 lead on a kill by Raegan LeGrand, but two kills by Millard South’s Jaime Hauptman and two Titan errors allowed the Patriots to even the match at 1-1.
Millard South used a balanced attack to jump out to a 9-3 lead in the third set and eventually held a 23-16 lead before the Titans went on a 6-1 run to pull within 24-22, but a double block from Madison Stearnes and Audrey Keim gave the Patriots the third set and a 2-1 advantage.
Millard South used a 12-3 run early in the fourth set to take a 15-6 lead and later increased it to 21-8 on a Hauptman kill. Papillion-LaVista South produced another late-set run – this time it was seven consecutive points – to make things interesting at 21-15 on a kill by freshman Peyton Schendt, but never got closer than six points the rest of the way.
“I’m so happy for the girls,” Kappas said. “It’s been a while since Millard South has been to state, and this group is dear to my heart. The seniors have been with me for four years and I felt like this was their time. I’m so happy for them.”
Hauptman and Hilger each had 14 kills to lead the Patriots while LeGrand led Papillion-LaVista South with 21 kills and Raechel Meisinger added 10.
Class A-6 District Championship
Millard South def. Papillion-LaVista South 20-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-17.
Millard South (kills-ace serves-blocks)
Madison Stearnes 7-0-5, Audrey Keim 7-0-3, Lauryn Hilger 14-1-2, Paxton Throne 6-0-0, Santana Gallegos 0-1-0, Mackenzie Burk 1-1-1, Jamie Hauptman 14-0-3.
Papillion-LaVista South (kills-ace serves-blocks)
Raegan LeGrand 21-0-0, Taylor Crandall 1-0-0, Brooke Fleischman 6-1-5, Raechel Meisinger 10-0-0, Taliyah Flores 8-1-2, Cassidy Renander 1-0-2, Peyton Schendt 4-0-0.
Assists: Millard South 41 (Throne 19, Gallegos 18, Hilger 3, Hauptman 1). Papillion-LaVista South 47 (Crandall 47).