GRETNA — When Gretna had sisters Mallory and Lydia Yost on fire at the same time, they blazed the Dragons' trail to the Class B state volleyball tournament.
The sisters combined for nine kills in the fifth set to lead No. 4 Gretna to a 23-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 15-7 come-from-behind win over upset-minded Waverly in the B-2 district volleyball final Saturday.
Mallory Yost, a 6-foot-1 senior, had four of her match-high 22 kills in the decisive set. Lydia, a 5-9 freshman outside hitter, had five kills in the fifth set and finished with 15 as the Dragons (29-3), last year’s state runner-up, beat Waverly for the fourth time this season.
“Being sisters, if one of them plays well, the other one will, too,” said Gretna coach Mike Brandon, who saw the Yost sisters each put down five kills in the second set to help the Dragons even the match.
“That’s huge when we get them both going at the same time like we did in the fifth (set),” Brandon added. “We played our best there at the end. Waverly played such great defense that our hitters were pressing most of the match. But in the fifth, they relaxed, took some big swings and finally got some balls down.”
Gretna right side Lauren Leapley finished with 12 kills, while setter Cameron Scott put up 60 assists. Jadyn Makovicka served four of Gretna’s five aces in the fourth set to help extend the match.
The ninth-ranked Vikings (17-15) were a different team Saturday from when Gretna swept them in a triangular on Oct. 28. Freshman setter Annika Evans missed that match because of a shoulder and neck injury, and played just a few points in Waverly’s upset loss to Beatrice in subdistricts on Tuesday.
Evans put up 44 assists and helped spark a balanced attack led by senior outside hitter Taylor Cockerill’s 19 kills. Cockerill had seven kills in Waverly’s opening-set win that set the tone for the rest of the match.
Another senior, middle blocker Emily Clarke, added 11 kills, while Lindsay Brunssen and Eran Rose-Gronewold put down eight apiece.
“When we lost Tuesday, we thought the season was over,” Waverly coach Terri Neujahr said. “Then on Wednesday morning, we found out we were in (the district finals), and we were given a gift. The work they put in the last three days in practice and the effort they gave today showed how much they appreciated that second chance.”