For BDS coach Kari Jo Alfs, there wasn't a better sound last summer.
"It's fun as a coach to walk through the hallways and hear volleyballs bouncing in the gymnasium, knowing those girls are putting the time in," Alfs said.
Ewing took some extra steps in the offseason, too, with the hopes of getting another shot at a state title.
On Friday, top-ranked BDS (29-4) and second-ranked Ewing (31-2) quickly took care of business in the Class D-2 state volleyball semifinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena. BDS swept No. 3 Mullen 25-13, 25-17, 25-18 and Ewing swept No. 5 Wynot 25-13, 25-13, 25-17.
The summer work has led to this: The Eagles and Tigers will meet in Saturday's 9 a.m. championship at the Devaney Sports Center.
BDS was close last year. The Eagles reached the Class D-1 semifinals before losing to eventual champion Johnson-Brock and settling for third place.
Alfs said the team combined for 260 hours of individual workouts during the summer, and that's not counting camps.
"I couldn't believe it when I added them up," she said.
BDS looked like a veteran team Friday. The Eagles won nine of 10 rallies midway through the first set to take control. Sophomore Macy Kamler had 10 kills, including four during a five-point stretch in the first set.
"We struggled on getting their passes up most of the time so we could use our hitters, so we really passed well and the ball right to the setter," Kamler said.
Eagles senior Jadyn Kleinschmidt had match-high 18 kills and 20 digs.
"Last season we dropped the semifinal match, but being here and kind of getting a feel for how the atmosphere and how everything works, it's all so different getting here," Alfs said. "Just a different environment. We really felt like that took the pressure off us as coaches and as a team, just knowing how everything works."
Ewing, meanwhile, will be making it second straight appearance in the Class D-2 final. Tigers coach Suz Funk said last year's state final loss to Exeter-Milligan left a "bad taste in their mouth."
"They were very focused," Funk said. "The summer we changed it up a little bit. We had a new conditioning/strength coach come in, and she pushed them really hard. It’s just a unit. Everybody’s doing their job. It takes all the staff, every single player on that team to accomplish what we’ve been accomplishing."
Funk said she has seen the extra work with strength and volunteer coach Laura Hynes pay off.
"There was times at substate that I thought (during the) fourth set, I’m like, ‘Boy, I’m not real sure, but you know what, they looked determined," Funk said. "They went on the floor and it was just a brand new team on that floor. They are so focused Monday and Tuesday in practice, I never even have to start a drill. They were out there ready to go, and that tells me that they want it."
Brenna Wagner and Tiana Thramer each had nine kills for Ewing on Friday, while teammate Sidney Stallbaum added eight kills.