Lawrence-Nelson went on a 7-0 run late in the fourth set to overcome Bertrand 25-17, 25-14, 15-25, 25-19 in the first round of the Class D-2 state volleyball tournament at Lincoln Southeast.
The fifth-ranked Raiders jumped out to a two-set lead, but the No. 4 Vikings won the third to extend the match.
“That 7-0 run in the fourth was big,” said Lawrence-Nelson coach Michelle Harrington. “I think we played too safe in the third set just trying to get the win. Give credit to Bertrand, … they make plays, but we were able to come out and take control in the fourth set.”
The Raiders' presence at the net allowed them to control the first two sets. Kelsey Menke had four blocks in the match and was a constant threat to Viking offense in the middle of the net.
Bertrand's offense broke out of its shell in the third set. A 6-0 run pushed the lead out of reach for the Raiders.
The fourth set was the most competitive of the match, with the teams trading points for nearly the entire set before Lawrence-Nelson's run.
“If my girls come out with the right attitude, our chances are good,” said Harrington. “We’re not the biggest team here, but we have a lot of heart and a lot of hustle. That’s what gets us points and gets us wins.”
* EXETER-MILLIGAN 3, WYNOT 0: After blazing through the first two sets, No. 3 Exeter-Milligan found itself in a battle in the third against No. 6 Wynot.
The Timberwolves fell behind 10-6 and the Blue Devils were able to keep a strong lead throughout the set until the very end. Exeter-Milligan scored the final four points of the set to complete the victory, 25-20, 25-11, 26-24.
“I thought it was a pretty good matchup for all three sets out there,” said Timberwolves coach Darcy White. “Our serve was taking them out of their offense, but they never gave up and they matched us really well, just like I thought they would.”
The first set was riddled with errors as both teams became accustomed to the tournament setting. The set went back and forth until the Timberwolves took the last six points. Madison Howard recorded three kills and an ace serve.
Exeter-Milligan controlled the tempo during second set and set the tone early by jumping out to a 6-0 lead. Senior Amber Pribyl had four kills and a block while Howard added two ace serves in the set.
“In the first two sets, we passed the ball very well,” White said. “We had a hard time getting Amber going in the first two sets, but she came on in the third, which was critical for us."
The Blue Devils held the lead through most of the third set, but the high-powered Timberwolves' attack started to flow at the end. A crucial block by Haylee Sheffield evened the score at 23. Exeter-Milligan took three of the next four points to win the match.
* GILTNER 3, CRAWFORD 0: The No. 2 Hornets slammed past the Rams in straight sets, 25-12, 25-3, 25-12.
The Hornets recorded 18 service aces as they controlled the tempo of the match from the first whistle to the last.
“Our serve was aggressive and consistent today,” said Giltner coach Kurt Polt. “It was good to see because it had been missing the last few games and it got Crawford out of system early.”
Chainey Tompkins led the way for the Hornets with 11 service aces, including eight in the second set, and 13 kills. Taylor Rhoades added 10 kills and four service aces.
* STUART 3, MULLEN 0: Mullen put together a scrappy performance, but the outside power of top-ranked Stuart was too much as it cruised to a 25-18, 25-18, 25-22 victory.
“We do have two very strong outsides but we also have all-around hitters, and I am confident with anybody doing the job, and they got the job done today,” Stuart coach Stacey Dexter said.
Harlee Fischer led Stuart with 13 kills and added 12 digs, while Monique Schafer had eight kills and 11 digs. Schafer turned her ankle during the third set and her status for Friday is questionable.
— Shea Carlson