The past five years, the Class A state volleyball champion has opened the season by winning the Bellevue Invitational.
Millard North coach Lindsay Peterson isn’t looking that far ahead, but after her eighth-ranked Mustangs captured the 2013 title Saturday in the 16-team event at Bellevue West, she’s certainly excited about her team’s prospects.
“That’s awesome, but we’ve got a lot of season left and Class A is wide-open,” said Peterson, whose team outlasted B No. 8 Omaha Skutt 25-18, 17-25, 25-22 in the finals behind nine kills from outside hitter Bella Siciunas and seven by middle blocker Katherine King.
Millard North (5-1) bounced back from a straight-set, pool-play loss Lincoln Northeast to win its first-ever Bellevue Invitational championship.
The Mustangs’ run to the title began with a win over No. 5 Papillion-La Vista South to finish pool play on Friday, a victory that snapped the three-time defending state champion Titans’ 112-match winning streak against Nebraska competition.
Millard North then beat No. 2 Omaha Marian (last year’s state runner-up) 25-16, 25-15 in the first round of the championship bracket Saturday before outlasting Western Christian of Iowa 23-25, 28-26, 26-24 in the semifinals. Western Christian, which features 6-5 right-side Haley Moss and three other players over 6-foot, is ranked No. 2 in Iowa 2A.
“We came out after that loss to Northeast with some fire,” Peterson said. “That win over Papio South gave us a lot of confidence and it carried over into Saturday in our match with Marian.”
No. 6 Lincoln Southeast went 1-2 Saturday in the championship bracket. The Knights fell to No. 4 Papillion-La Vista 25-16, 25-23 in the first round, then edged Northeast 24-26, 25-12, 25-19 before losing to Marian in the fifth-place match 25-20, 25-19.
Outside hitter Meagen Roth had 29 kills in the three matches combined to lead Southeast, while setter Kylee Wurster had 75 assists and libero Carly Sheppard 27 digs.
Northeast was 0-2 Saturday, starting with a 25-11, 25-20 setback to Omaha Skutt. Toni Tupper pounded 23 kills on the day for the Rockets, and Megan Sattler had 19 assists.