OMAHA – In a triangular featuring three of the top teams in Class C-1, it was Grand Island Central Catholic that came out on top Tuesday. Centennial Conference foes Lincoln Lutheran (#1), Grand Island CC (#4) and Omaha Concordia (#7)…
OMAHA – In a triangular featuring three of the top teams in Class C-1, it was Grand Island Central Catholic that came out on top Tuesday.
Centennial Conference foes Lincoln Lutheran (#1), Grand Island CC (#4) and Omaha Concordia (#7) each took a crack at each other with GICC going 2-0, Lincoln Lutheran 1-1 and Concordia 0-2.
The highlight match came in the middle as Lincoln Lutheran, which entered the match 11-0, took on GICC, which came into the contest at 11-1.
Both sets were ultra competitive with the Crusaders finding a way to close out stronger. With the first set tied at 20-20, Omaha recruit Megan Woods had two straight kills followed by an ace serve from Lauryn Willman to put the Crusaders up 23-20. GICC eventually got to set point at 24-21 on a Lutheran service error and – after a kill from the Warriors’ Marriah Buss made it 24-22 – Woods closed it out with her eighth kill of the set.
In the second set, a kill by Buss evened the score at 22-22, but a hitting error on the Warriors followed by a kill from Avery Kalvoda and tip kill from setter Katie Maser gave GICC the 25-22, 25-22 sweep.
In the first match of the day, GICC swept Concordia 25-19, 25-14 while Lutheran dropped Concordia 25-17, 25-15 in the final match.
Now, on to the 10 Best from the triangular…..
Best Player in the Triangular: Megan Woods (GICC)
Woods is about as complete of a player as you will find in the state. The 5’10 junior OH had 15 kills against Lincoln Lutheran and added eight more against Concordia. More impressive than the 23 total kills was her efficiency, making just three errors and hitting a combined .513 in the two matches. The best players play their best in big matches and that’s exactly what Woods did. Woods is hitting .439 for the season and averages 5.1 kills per set – she had 5.75 kills per set in the triangular. She also added 15 digs as well.
Best Offensive Performance: Marriah Buss (Lincoln Lutheran)
Few players in the state have the ability to terminate the way Buss can and that was on fully display at Concordia on Tuesday as the 6’0 sophomore went off for 31 kills in four sets (7.75 per set). As the main focus of opposing teams, Buss still delivers at an incredible rate, hitting .457 for the season and taking 35.7% of her team’s swings.
Best Defensive Performance: Kamryn Willman (GICC)
Coming into the triangular, the 6’1 junior had 13 blocks in 11 matches for the Crusaders, but the MH frustrated both Lutheran and Concordia at the net while tallying five blocks in the two matches. And since they say the best defense is a good offense, Willman added 11 kills while hitting .429 on the day.
Best Stock-Raising Performance: Josie Puelz (Lincoln Lutheran)
I’m not going to lie, Puelz was not on my radar prior to this triangular but certainly is now. The 5’7 junior gives the Warriors’ a solid second OH. While she isn’t a high riser or have an extremely heavy ball, she simply gets it done. She had a career-high 10 kills against GICC and added eight more against Concordia for an average of 4.5 kills per set. Puelz entered the triangular averaging 1.6 kills per set this year.
Best All-Around Performance: Back row tandem of Jenna Lowry & Kate McFarland (GICC)
It might be kind of hard to say that the best all-around performances came from players that never saw the front row, but the duo of libber Lowry and DS McFarland kept GICC in rhythm all day and they both did a little bit of everything. The two combined for 33 digs, two kills, three ace serves (while both were perfect from the serving line), two assists and 55 serve receptions.
Best Performance by a Sophomore or Freshman: Avery Kalvoda (GICC)
Kalvoda’s stat line doesn’t jump out you as the 5’9 sophomore MH had four kills against both Concordia and Lutheran. She was incredibly efficient, however, getting those eight kills on just 14 swings with only one error for a .500 hitting percentage. So much of the formula for success in high school volleyball is avoiding errors and Kalvoda certainly impressed in that area and others.
Best Player to Watch Out for Moving Forward: Taylor Pribyl (Concordia)
Without a doubt, Pribyl is extremely talented player for the Mustangs. I mean, she did have a career-high 19 kills in the Class C-1 state final last year. Concordia struggled to stay in system most of the day and that impacted Pribyl, who had 17 kills, but most of her swings weren’t exactly from the ideal spot on the court, which resulted in her .174 hitting percentage for the triangular. Don’t let your guard down against the Jacksonville State recruit, however, because she’s as dangerous as they come on the outside.
Best Ups: Hope Leimbach (Lincoln Lutheran)
Generously listed at 5’5 in the program, Leimbach always amazes me with her athleticism. It was on full display again in the triangular as the diminutive setter for the Warriors was still able to get up and get good touches on blocks and wins some jousts at the net against players much, much taller than her. You don’t find many 5’5 setters who hold their own at the net in a 5-1 offense, but Leimbach certainly does. She also finished the day with 55 assists, two kills and four aces.
Best Performance That Could Easily Be Overlooked: Sami Clarkson (Concordia)
As mentioned earlier, the Mustangs’ passing was off on Tuesday and that resulted in Clarkson doing a lot of sprinting and that’s never good for a setter. Despite that, the Omaha recruit made some incredible sets and managed to give her team hittable balls more often than not. She’s one of the top few setters in the state despite not being able to showcase her skills completely. Clarkson still managed to put up 34 assists and had 12 digs and two blocks on the day.
Best Performance That Could Easily Be Overlooked II: Katie Maser (GICC)
Maser isn’t flashy, but you would be hard pressed to find a better quarterback for your team than the 5’9 sophomore. She doesn’t get overly involved in the offensive attack, but is a master distributor with sneaky quickness and great hands that makes all the plays. On match point against Lincoln Lutheran it was Maser who was able to leap above the net and get a misdirection touch on a tight pass to the net that resulted in the match-winner. She finished the day with 38 assists and 11 digs.