Nebraska Rankings Update: Prepare for Wild Finish
Photo Credit: Nebraska Christian Schools Two weeks from today the first postseason matches of the 2017 Nebraska high school volleyball season will take place, and this might be the wildest postseason in years. The rankings for each class and the…
Photo Credit: Nebraska Christian Schools
Two weeks from today the first postseason matches of the 2017 Nebraska high school volleyball season will take place, and this might be the wildest postseason in years.
The rankings for each class and the over top 25 have been updated and you can find the links to each below, but let’s be honest here, these rankings won’t mean diddly starting in 14 days. There wasn’t much of a shake-up anywhere in the rankings, but let’s take a quick look at how the postseason might look in each class.
We will be giving a more in-depth analysis on the stretch run in each class later this week, but for now here is a quick synopsis.
If this were Las Vegas, Omaha Marian would be listed as heavy, heavy favorites to win the Class A title – but that might not be a good thing (more on that later this week). The Crusaders have won 25 in a row. In a lot of ways, the state title is theirs to lose. Expect widespread chaos in all the other districts that don’t include Marian. After Marian, there isn’t a team in Class A capable of winning a district title without playing its best. None of the other teams who will likely be top seeds in district play has shown the consistency to avoid an upset while there are going to be some good #2-3 seeds in districts that can pull upsets, such as Lincoln Southeast, Kearney, Millard South, Lincoln Northeast, Grand Island, Bellevue West and Lincoln East. It wouldn’t shock me to see one or two of those teams reach state.
Similar to Marian in Class A, Skutt has separated itself from the rest of the field in Class B, despite having eight losses. Duchesne is likely the only other team that looks strong enough to avoid an upset in substate, but after that, it’s pretty much chaos – as we’ve seen in recent days with Seward knocking off Grand Island Northwest and Waverly downing Elkhorn South. Right now it’s looking like there will be a handful of lower-seeded teams in the substate round more than capable of pulling an “upset” to punch their ticket to state. If I were a Class B coach I would absolutely not want to see lower-seeded teams such as Bennington, Omaha Roncalli, Hastings, Waverly and Norris on the opposite side of the court against me.
The thing in Class C-1 last year was that there were legitimately 9-10 teams that were serious state-title contenders and that made for a great state tournament, but a pretty lack-luster substate round (except for the epic 5-set thriller in which Malcolm knocked off Grand Island CC). This year, in my opinion, it’s really just a three horse race for the state title between Wahoo, North Bend and Grand Island CC. That having been said – where Class C-1 is deepest is roughly from about spots four through the mid-teens. That means substate seedings will be paramount and you’re likely to see a few upsets in the round of 16. Teams like St. Paul, Bishop Neumann, Ogallala, Lincoln Christian, Columbus Scouts and Gothenburg would all be lower-seeded teams at substate right now and each of them is state-tournament caliber.
What you have in Class C-2 this year, I think, is what you had in Class C-1 a year ago – eight or nine loaded teams that you can realistically see as a state champion. But, it drops off sharply after that. Hartington Cedar Catholic is clearly at the head of the class in C-2, but Stanton, Nebraska Christian (pictured above), Archbishop Bergan, Centura, Ponca and Superior aren’t much of a drop off and Freeman’s 15-8 record is deceiving. I apologize in advance if this is harsh, but I think it needs to be mentioned. South Loup is currently 6th in Class C-2 wildcard points and is not anywhere near the sixth-best team in the class. Meanwhile, Freeman is at #12 in wild card points. Thus, Freeman will likely face another of the elite C-2 teams in the substate round and one outstanding team will be left at home. The reality in C-2 is you want to avoid facing Freeman in substate and – if you’re a lower-seed team – you’re hoping you draw South Loup.
In Class D we dive into the stone ages where substate doesn’t exist, so things get much, much more dicey. The Class D1-1 district has the top three teams in the rankings – and in wild card points – together. That means Johnson-Brock, Meridian and BDS will produce just one district title and – if there is any justice in the world – both wild cards. Then take a look at the Class D1-5 district where four more of the top 10 teams – in rankings and wild card points – all reside in Ansley-Litchfield, Blue Hill, Pleasanton and Overton. Chances are pretty good three of the top teams in the state will get left home from that district alone. Well done Class D coaches, you definitely don’t need substate **eye roll emoji**
Class D-2 isn’t quite as bad in how the districts are stacked compared to D-1, but there are still home uber districts that will leave some good teams at home. In Class D2-1 you’ve got both Exeter-Milligan and Mead, two teams that could easily win the state title. Falls City Sacred Heart could also be a spoiler in that bracket. In district D2-4 you’ve got Giltner, Red Cloud, Axtell and sleeper Hampton.