OMAHA – Gretna was the latest of the top teams in Nebraska to challenge Skutt Catholic’s position as the best team in the state, but like the others, the Dragons became another victim in the Skyhawks’ 38-match winning streak.
Skutt defeated Gretna 25-11, 25-17 in the finals of the Skyhawk Invitational Saturday. The win improved Skutt to 22-0 on the season while the loss was Gretna’s first in 20 matches this year.
Skutt coach Renee Saunders said her team was able to execute its plan to minimize mistakes and play as clean of a match as possible. The Skyhawks hit .444 in the match with just five errors and only had two service errors against Gretna.
“Our process was to take care of the ball and worry about our side,” she said.
After Gretna scored the first three points of the match, Skutt went on a 10-3 run to take a 10-6 lead on a kill by freshman outside Megan Skovsende. Gretna sophomore outside Kamryn Schuler ended the run with a kill of her own, but Kansas State recruit Brooke Heyne came alive with four kills during an 11-1 run that put Skutt ahead 21-8 en route to the 25-11 win.
Heyne finished with 11 kills and Skovsende had nine, but Saunders was quick to credit the ability of middles McKenna Kirkpatrick and Lily Heyne and rightside Sydney McDermott and setter Allison Schomer as reasons why her outsides are able to be so effective.
“The reason their successful is because you have to respect our middles and you have to respect our other hitters,” Saunders said. “If we were only an outside team, then I think we would always have a double block out there. The fact that we have middles that can terminate and two right sides that can terminate helps.”
Gretna kept things tight in the second set and cut Skutt’s lead to 11-8 on a kill by Mallory Yost, but the Skyhawks went on a 6-1 run keyed by a pair of kills from both Skovsende and McDermott to take a 17-9 lead and the Dragons never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
Gretna coach Mike Brandon said he was impressed with the way his team responded after the first set and played more of its style in the second.
“The first set we got over-hyped a little bit and we tried to play their tempo on our side of the net. We almost went too fast for ourselves offensively,” he said. “Once we got patient in the second, I thought we played a much better match.”
Yost and Schuler each had four kills for Gretna while setter Cameron Scott had 14 assists. Schomers had 29 assists for Skutt while Jessica Schlautman had 11 digs and Nikki White added 10.