Southeast vs. North Star, prep volleyball, 9/12/17

Lincoln Southeast's Melanie Brecka (top) and Peyton Rhode block a Lincoln North Star shot in the second set Tuesday at Lincoln North Star High School.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR

After a close first set, Class A No. 9 Lincoln Southeast took a step back, focused and played its game Tuesday in a 3-0 sweep (25-17, 25-10, 25-6) over the Navigators at Lincoln North Star.

Tied 8-8 in the second set, the Knights went on a 13-2 run to take command against North Star.

"We have to always focus on staying disciplined, playing our game and focusing on our side," coach Southeast Theresa Naumann said. "Once we started to click, we were playing how we should play."

The Knights were helped out by North Star's double hits and net violations, and when the Navigators weren't committing errors, they had to deal with 6-foot Melanie Brecka and 6-foot 2 Lexi Long at the net.

Brecka and Long finished with three blocks apiece; Brecka also led the Knights with five kills.

"We always try and run our middles and make sure we have a middle presence," Naumann said. "I think we did a good job establishing our middle with our tall players and then kicking it out when we needed to."

When the Knights needed a different offensive attack, setter Cassidy Plooster stepped up with a change-up multiple times to throw off the Navigator defense.

Plooster's decision-making made it hard for North Star to figure out where the Knights' attacks were coming.

"All-in-all, (Plooster) is a smart player and a great leader, so I trust her judgment," the Southeast coach said. "In my opinion she made the right calls tonight, and hopefully that carries on."

After Southeast went on its dominating run in the second set, North Star scored the first point of the third, but the Knights rallied again, this time from the service line.

Peyton Rhode finished with five ace serves, and Plooster added great serving at the end of the third set to keep the Gators at bay.

"We struggled with serving a few weeks ago, and it has been a key point in our preparation both this game and the rest of the season," Naumann said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or tgray@journalstar.com.

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