VCNebraska Makes Gutsy Comeback, Falls Short in JVA Midwest Challenge Final
VCNebraska 17 Elite’s Kelsie Cada (Bishop Neumann) hits around the block of Iowa Power Plex’s Kenna Sauer (18) during Sunday’s championship match of the 18 Open division at the JVA Midwest Challenge. (Photo by Berk Brown). About the only things…
VCNebraska 17 Elite’s Kelsie Cada (Bishop Neumann) hits around the block of Iowa Power Plex’s Kenna Sauer (18) during Sunday’s championship match of the 18 Open division at the JVA Midwest Challenge. (Photo by Berk Brown).
About the only things missing from Sunday’s championship match in the 18 Open division of the JVA Midwest Challenge in Des Moines was Ivan Drago, crazed Russian fans, the Rocky theme music and – unfortunately – the victorious comeback.
Iowa Power Plex 17U pounded VCNebraska 17 Elite like Drago pummeling Sylvester Stallone’s character in Rocky IV in the first set, winning 25-16 and then came out even stronger in the second set and backed VCNebraska into the corner with a 13-5 lead.
Then after Alyssa Rezac (Bishop Neumann) delivered an ace serve and Alex Lemke (Lincoln East) and Kalynn Meyer (Superior) delivered back-to-back massive blocks, the lead was cut to 13-8 and I swear somewhere behind me someone yelled, “they’re cut, they’re cut. The Russians are cut!”
And with that, the VCNebraska onslaught started. Delaney Humm (Lincoln Pius X) had two kills and a block in a crucial stretch that saw VCNebraska cut the Iowa Power Plex lead to 20-17. Humm then delivered an ace, followed by a kill from Kelsie Cada (Bishop Neumann) and a back-row kill from Humm tied it up at 20-20 in front a stunned crowd. The set remained tied at 22-22, but two straight hitting errors by Iowa Power Plex and a double contact call gave the second set to VCNebraska 25-22.
In the third set, it looked like it could be deja vue all over again as Power Plex pulled out to an early lead and then seemed to be in complete control when future Husker Madi Kubik’s kill put Power Plex up 14-8 in the final set.
First it was a kill by Humm, then it was a massive block in the middle by Illinois recruit Kyla Swanson (Wahoo) and Power Plex’s Wisconsin recruit Devyn Robinson and it was suddenly 14-10. Then Humm tooled the Power Plex block and Lemke’s roll shot fell in making it 14-12, and you could start to hear the whispers of the Rocky theme song.
Cada then made an incredible diving dig of a ball that led to a Humm kill to make it 14-13. Could it be? Could VCNebraska fight off six match points in a row? Unfortunately, Robinson had other plans for Power Plex and the dynamic attacker crushed a ball to the floor, ending the match and giving Power Plex the thrilling 16-25, 22-25, 15-13 victory in the championship match.
For VCNebraska, Humm finished with a team-high 10 kills and Cada had nine. Lemke and Swanson each had four kills and a block while Rezac had two kills and a pair of aces and Meyer finished with a kill and a block.
Kubik finished the match with 10 kills for Power Plex and Robinson had six kills and three blocks.
Also in the 18 Open division, Nebraska Juniors 181, Nebraska Elite 17 Razee and River City Juniors 18 Navy each tied for fifth place after reaching the championship quarterfinals. TeamMagic 181 Serendipity finished 15th while Nebraska Edge 18 Gold was 16th.