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Class A volleyball, Millard North vs. Pius X, 11/10/18

Lincoln Pius X's Anna McLain pushes a shot over the net against Millard North on Nov. 10, 2018, during the Class A championship match at the Devaney Sports Center.

There isn’t a clearer sign that the prep volleyball season is right around the corner than the annual Nebraska Coaches Association all-star volleyball game.

Luckily for volleyball fans, the contest is Tuesday night at Lincoln North Star High School.

This season’s match, the 36th annual contest for Nebraska talent, does differ from the past, however. The rosters on both sides may contain the most talent the showcase has ever seen, with nearly every participant taking their skills to the next level in the fall.

“This will be a competitive game and an amazing representation of the volleyball talent that is right here in the state of Nebraska,” said Lincoln Pius X coach Katie Wenz, who will have two of her former players in the competition.

“You look at one roster of talent and think they have these really good players and that they’ll win, then you look at the roster of the other and think, nope, they’ll win. Both teams are so good you just want both teams to win. Most of the girls playing will be names you hear at the next level. It’s truly amazing how the girls playing represents how much talent is in Nebraska.”

Pius X had two players selected, Anna McLain and Emma Gabel, both of whom will be playing at the next level in the fall. The star-studded lineup features 11 players moving on to D-1 programs. Unfortunately, Gabel tore her ACL ahead of her first season as a Husker.

The amount of talent on both sides of the net is indicative of just how far the sport of volleyball has come in Nebraska and the level of talent that’s being played in the state.

“I think what’s fun for me and the other coaches is outside the high school, a lot of these girls play with and against each other at the club level so they’re all friends on and off the court,” Wenz added. “They care about each other but they also love to compete. It will be fun to watch the competition come out between them.”

Wenz isn’t the only coach with multiple players on the roster. Millard North coach Lindsay Peterson has two players in the contest, and she’ll also be leading them as the head coach of the Blue team.

“The talent level (in this match) is excellent, and we had so many great athletes to choose from,” Peterson said. “Being able to coach Emmy (Grant) and Allie (Kerns) again is just the icing on the cake for me. I’m excited to see them and reconnect, as both have already gone off to be a part of their college programs. It should be a great match with a lot of talent.”

Opening serve is set for 6 p.m. on Tuesday at Lincoln North Star. 

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

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