Can LSW Bring the Class A Title Back to Lincoln This Year?
The 1998 Lincoln Northeast team was the last Lincoln team to bring home a state volleyball championship in class A. Since then, we’ve seen the championship won by Omaha schools for 18 years straight. Lincoln Southwest though, could potentially be…
The 1998 Lincoln Northeast team was the last Lincoln team to bring home a state volleyball championship in class A. Since then, we’ve seen the championship won by Omaha schools for 18 years straight. Lincoln Southwest though, could potentially be the team to break that streak this year.
The Lincoln Southwest Silverhawks have been a regular in the class A state volleyball tournament, making it to state every year but twice since the school opened in 2002. Last year the Silverhawks had a rocky start to their season, but turned things around at the right time. They had a first year head coach in Mark Novotny and an extremely young roster, but managed to put everything together when it mattered.
In the LPS Classic Tournament a year ago, the Silverhawks managed to finish 3rd in the tournament. It was an impressive run considering they were one of the last seeds going into the 16 team tournament. The LPS Classic Tournament is a great test and preview of what the potential state tournament could look like. The tournament features all the top schools in Lincoln, as well as some of the Omaha powerhouses like Omaha Marian, Papillion-LaVista and Papillion La-Vista South. Southwest finished 3rd after taking Omaha Marian to a thrilling and decisive 3rd set in the semifinals. This might have been the turning point in the Silverhawk’s season a year ago.
After that incredible run at the LPS Classic, Lincoln Southwest breezed through conference play. They got swept by Lincoln North Star in the season opener and fell to the Gators during pool play at the LPS Classic, but they beat every other team in the Heartland Athletic Conference last year before districts. The Silverhawks managed to win the HAC Conference title for the 2nd year in a row, after sweeping Lincoln Southeast in the conference final.
A couple weeks later, the Hawks got to host one of the 7 district tournaments in class A. They hosted the A7 district and had to go head to head with Lincoln Southeast in the A7 championship match. Lincoln Southwest was upset by Lincoln Southeast in 5 sets, but since the other 6 districts went as planned, the Silverhawks earned the 2017 wild card into the class A state volleyball tournament. The Silverhawks fell to #2 Omaha Marian in the first round of the state tournament, which ended a great turnaround season.
This year, Lincoln Southwest probably won’t need to make use of the wild card to get to state. Head Coach Mark Novotny returns almost his entire starting lineup from last year’s team, making their roster one of the deepest and strongest rosters in the state. They return their senior setters Rachel Walker and Joycin Stonacek from last year’s 6-2 offense, senior libero Kaitie Siefkes, their junior outside hitters Hannah Kelle and Jayden Ferguson, their junior DS Mariah Zvolanek, their junior DS and right side hitter Paige Silverberg, senior MH Caitlin Derks, as well as their senior right side Callie Kohl who should see significant playing time for the Hawks this year. With Ferguson, Kelle, Derks, Silverberg, Kohl, and their transfer middle Taytem Coleman from Lincoln Christian as offensive options, this Southwest team could be unstoppable this season.
The Hawks have already started off with a 4-0 record and have yet to drop a set so far this season. They swept Lincoln North Star in the season opener, swept Lincoln Pius X, a team who also made the Class A state tournament a year ago, as well as picked up wins against Bellevue East and Bellevue West.
This Silverhawks team will be battle tested when they start playing some of the higher ranked teams in the state like Millard West and Millard North, as well as both of the Papio schools. Southwest swept the eventual state champions Millard North in one of their matches last year, so they for sure have what it takes to make a run at the state title this year.
Back in March of this year, Jayden Ferguson helped lead the Lincoln Southwest girls basketball team to its first state title. Volleyball teammates Hannah Kelle and Callie Kohl were also on that state championship team. Now that Ferguson, Kelle and Kohl know what it’s like to win a state title, they and their volleyball teammates probably want nothing more than to bring home the school’s first state volleyball title this November.