COLUMBUS – On paper, Thursday night’s match between Class C-1 #3 Omaha Concordia and #4 Columbus Scotus had all the makings of an epic battle between two teams with state title aspirations.
On the court, it played out much differently.
Concordia, which returned all but one starter off last year’s state runner-up team, cruised to a 25-11, 25-15, 25-22 victory over a Scotus team which also lost just one starter from its squad that finished third at state a year ago.
Scotus, however, wasn’t able to take advantage of its returning experience against Concordia because of a mixture of injuries and players out for disciplinary reasons. As a result, its top two setters, its top three kill leaders from a year ago and a few other players did not play.
The only players on the court for the Shamrocks with varsity experience Thursday night were returning senior libero Courtney Labenz and senior middle hitter Courtney Brockhaus (106 kills, 22 blocks last year). The rest of the Scotus starting line-up combined for 11 assists and zero kills a year ago.
Despite a valiant effort by those who were in uniform for the Shamrocks, Concordia was able to overwhelm Scotus from the outset of the match, which was the season-opener for both teams. Concordia led 5-4 early in the first set then went on a 14-2 run to take a 19-6 lead on a kill by senior middle Faith Johnson en route to the 25-11 opening-set win.
The second set went in similar fashion, except Scotus was able to take an early lead at 5-3 on a kill by Hannah Mielak. A kill by junior Averey Yaksich started an 8-0 run for the Mustangs as they went up 11-5 on a kill by Brooke Sorenson. A pair of kills by Alyssa Kuta helped pull Scotus back within 12-11, but Concordia finished the set on a 13-4 run.
Scotus kept the third set competitive most of the way, but a rash of hitting errors helped Concordia stretch a 16-14 lead to 24-16 in a hurry. The Shamrocks impressively fought off six match points before a service error gave the third set – and match – to the Mustangs.
Yaksich led all players with 22 kills on 43 attacks. Johnson and Sydney Clarkson each finished with six kills for the Mustangs while Jenna Spellerberg had 45 assists and Tori Jones had a team-high 21 digs. Mielak led Scotus on the night with five kills and two blocks.
Omaha Concordia def. Columbus Scotus 25-11, 25-15, 25-22.
Omaha Concordia (1-0) Ranked #3 in Class C-1
Bailey Paskevic – 0 kills, 0 aces, 0 blocks, 11 digs, 0 assists.
Brooke Sorenson – 2 kills, 0 aces, 1 block, 3 digs, 0 assists.
Faith Johnson – 6 kills, 0 aces, 0 blocks, 1 dig, 0 assists.
Ava Curtiss – 0 kills, 2 aces, 0 blocks, 8 digs, 0 assists.
Jenna Spellerberg – 2 kills, 1 ace, ½ block, 11 digs, 45 assists.
Gabby Armour – 3 kills, 0 aces, 0 blocks, 0 digs, 0 assists.
Averey Yaksich – 22 kills, 2 aces, 0 blocks, 14 digs, 0 assists.
Taylor Pribyl – 2 kills, 1 ace, ½ block, 3 digs, 0 assists.
Tori Jones – 0 kills, 1 ace, 0 blocks, 21 digs, 0 assists.
Brooke Pickette – 4 kills, 0 aces, 0 blocks, 0 digs, 0 assists.
Team Totals – 47 kills, 7 aces, 2 blocks, 75 digs, 45 assists.
Columbus Scotus (0-1) Ranked #4 in Class C-1
Alyssa Kuta – 2 kills, 0 aces, 0 blocks.
Courtney Labenz – 2 kills, 0 aces, 0 blocks.
Hannah Mielak – 5 kills, 0 aces, 2 blocks.
Courtney Brockhaus – 4 kills, 2 aces, 1 block.
Team Totals – 13 kills, 2 aces, 3 blocks.