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Lincoln Lutheran vs. Waverly volleyball, 8/23/18

Waverly's Abigail Clarke (6) celebrates a point with her teammates in the third set during their against Lincoln Lutheran on Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 at Lincoln Lutheran High School.

A 1-3 start wasn’t exactly how the No. 5 Waverly Vikings wanted to start the season, but it’s probably the best thing that could’ve happened to them.

“We got a wake-up call right out of the gate this season and it really changed our mindset as a team,” Vikings’ coach Terri Neujahr said. “It changed the way we practiced, and it changed the way we approached the game and it taught us that every match, every set, every touch is just as important. It’s been really rewarding as a coach to see them embrace that this season.”

Since the slow start, the Vikings have gone 11-1, including a 10-match win streak they’re currently riding into the week. The early season turbulence, most of which came against rated opponents, is now a distant memory for a team that has big goals this season.

The win streak has Waverly rising up the ratings in a loaded Class B field and it's easy to understand when watching them play.

Waverly gets production from every player on the court, and the offensive production is staggering at the moment. The Vikings have three players with more than 100 kills already with sophomore Whitney Lauenstein leading the team at 203.

The kills are impressive, but Neujahr is quick to compliment junior setter Annika Evans for the team’s success this season.

“Annika Evans knows every spot to put the ball for us this season and she’s able to get everyone involved,” she said. “We’re getting production from all of our offensive weapons this season and we feel like we have five go-to players on the court at any time. It’s just been phenomenal.”

This weekend will provide the Vikings with one of their biggest tests of the year as they enter the Class A heavy field at the Lincoln Northeast Invitational. But, like most that are rolling with confidence after a long win streak, they’re excited to play against the state’s top competition.

“These girls are fearless and they really don’t care what the opposing jersey says on it,” Neujahr said. “Looking at the bracket, they’re happy they get to play (Omaha) Marian because, as a Class B school, we don’t get to see them often. They want to see what they can do.”

Waverly will first have to get through a resilient Plattsmouth team on Tuesday before heading to Lincoln on Friday for the two-day tournament, but with the way the Vikings are playing, it’s unlikely to be their last trip to Lincoln this fall.

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

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