Blue Captures NCA All-Star Victory in Blasé of Glory
LINCOLN – The Blue All-Stars were playing a little shorthanded at the outside hitter position in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Match on Tuesday night at Lincoln North Star, but Grand Island’s Alexa Blasé more than filled the void. Blase,…
LINCOLN – The Blue All-Stars were playing a little shorthanded at the outside hitter position in the Nebraska Coaches Association All-Star Match on Tuesday night at Lincoln North Star, but Grand Island’s Alexa Blasé more than filled the void.
Blase, an Omaha recruit, twice closed out a set with a kill and had a All-Star Match record nine blocks to go with seven kills and an ace serve to lead Blue to a 25-22, 28-26, 25-23, 28-26 uber sweep of the Red All-Stars. The teams play a minimum of four sets in the All-Star Match.
Blue had a pair of the top outside hitters in the state unavailable on the night as North Bend’s Kristin Lux was at school at West Virginia and North Platte’s Sami Mauch recently suffered a knee injury that kept her out of action. Blasé and Omaha Duchesne’s Julianna Kalil proved to be a dynamic 1-2 punch for Blue. Kalil finished with 10 kills, which was the most for the Blue team and also had two aces serves.
The match was tight all night, but it was always Blue that found a way to get the kills to close out sets. With the Red team leading 24-22 in the second set, Papillion-LaVista’s Sydney Fitzgibbons had a kill and then Blasé got a block to tie it at 24-24. Blasé later had back-to-back kills to end the second set and that really seemed to be a back-breaker for Red. Blasé also had a kill to end the third set and a block to finish the fourth set.
Behind Creighton recruit Jaela Zimmerman and Midland University recruit Brooke Fredrickson on the outside, Red was able to have a lot of success on the outside. Zimmerman finished the night with 19 kills and Fredrickson 10.
Some thoughts from the match:
One high school coach noted that they had never seen Blasé play as well as she did Tuesday night, which isn’t something you normally hear when an athlete is competing against the very best in the state. Some of it seemed to be that she was playing with a lot of confidence, and maybe some of that has come from her working out with the Omaha volleyball program and becoming more comfortable that her ability is on par with the best in the state. Regardless what it was, I do know that the Maverick coaches were thrilled with how she did.
Kalil is such a gamer and it was awesome to see her have the success that she did. Yes, she’s undersized and that scared off a lot of college programs, but son-of-a-gun if she just doesn’t know how to score points and get the ball to the floor. She’s headed to the University of Chicago and she’s going to do quite well.
The combination of Skutt setter Delaney Saucier and Papillion-LaVista middle Sydney Fitzgibbons connected well on the night, which was certainly helped by the fact that the two played club volleyball together.
Mayfield opted to not play college volleyball, but you can tell what a great athlete she is that she simply steps out onto the court in an all-star match without having played club volleyball and gets four kills right away in the first set.
Bailee Sterling didn’t put up eye-popping numbers with four kills, but she was really impressive in her explosiveness and how high above the net she played.
It was fun to see Papillion-LaVista’s Ally Glaser spend time at setter (to the tune of 21 assists) because she never spent time as a setter in high school matches. In the past I’ve called her the Swiss Army Knife of volleyball because she’s an all-in-one player and she did it again in her last high school match. Concordia is getting a good one.