Marian Claims Metro Title With Sweep of Papillion-LaVista
PAPILLION – For the third straight year, Omaha Marian and Papillion-LaVista met for the Metro Conference Tournament championship on Thursday night and for the third straight year the best-of-five match was over in just three sets.
Marian came out on fire and then held off Papillion-LaVista in the third set to win the title 25-16, 25-11, 27-25 at Papillion-LaVista South High School. Marian swept the Monarchs for the Metro title last year as well while Papillion-LaVista beat Marian 3-0 for the 2014 championship.
Libero Sophia Moes, Mary Katherine Wolfe and Emily Bressman anchored a defense for Marian on Thursday night that delivered pass after pass on target to setter Lily Heim, who spread the ball around all match. At the net, the Crusaders were efficient, hitting .385 as a team with just three errors.
“Our pass was on and our hitters had a lot of options,” Marian coach Amy McLeay said. “When we played them a couple weeks ago in the best-of-five (at the Omaha Westside Invite) we had a lot of unforced hitting errors. We talked a about that – that stems from the pass to the set.”
Papillion-LaVista, which dropped to 31-4 with the loss, never led in the first set and led only briefly – at 2-1 – in the second set as the Crusaders took control of the match by going up 2-0.
Things were different in the third set, though, and the Monarchs went up 9-7 on a kill by setter Dani Prusha. Marian, 30-5, answered with a kill by Wolfe and then tied it on a Monarch hitting error – one of 13 they had on the night. Junior middle Sarah Wing, an Iowa recruit, then took over, getting three blocks a kill and an ace serve to help the Crusaders build a 16-12 lead.
Papio eventually battled back with Mary Matincik having a big block and kill to spark a 4-0 run by the Monarchs that tied the third set at 22-22. A kill by Wolfe and another Wing block got Marian to match point at 24-22, but a net violation and another kill from Prusha tied it at 24-24. After Wing and Palio’s Steph Gaston traded kills, Emily Bressman ended it for the Crusaders with back-to-back kills to give the set to Marian 27-25.
Marian was able to keep Papillion-LaVista from finding a rhythm and being in system most of the match and did so by attacking Monarch setter Prusha as often as it could. By tipping and attacking at Prusha, Marian was able to force the Monarchs into more scramble situations. As a result, Prusha – who averages 12.6 assists per set – finished the night with 20 assists in the three sets.
McLeay said there is some risk involved in that strategy but it worked well in the match.
“It’s kind of a catch because when (Prusha) has to play D, usually that actually gives Gaston a higher ball which means she gets to go up higher and wind up even bigger, so it’s kind of a catch for us,” McLeay said. “Not only making her play the ball, but making it so the dig isn’t quite as in system – because we know Gaston is the outlet.”
Bressman finished with a match-high 14 kills for Marian while Wolfe had nine, Wing eight and Maddie Wiedenfeld seven. Wing also added six solo blocks and Heim finished with 36 assists.
For Papio, Gaston finished with 10 kills while Sydney Fitzgibbons had six. Martincik had three blocks for the Monarchs.