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B volleyball, Omaha Skutt vs. Elkhorn South, 11/10/18

Omaha Skutt's Lily Heyne dives for an Elkhorn South shot in the third set on Saturday during the Class B state volleyball final at the Devaney Sports Center.

A few tweaks to the lineup prior to the state tournament provided Omaha Skutt with the momentum it needed, and the SkyHawks rode their newfound mojo to a fourth straight Class B state championship.

After dropping a four-set match to Elkhorn South in subdistricts, SkyHawks coach Renee Saunders inserted junior Megan Skovsende into the libero spot and altered a few rotations.

The changes resulted in an ultra-confident team, as the No. 3 SkyHawks dismantled the top-ranked Storm 25-17, 25-21, 25-14, cruising to the title Saturday night at the Devaney Sports Center.

“My job as their coach is to put them in the best position to succeed,” Saunders said. “To do that I felt I need to move a couple people around to utilize their talents and strengths. If it didn’t work, I would’ve been an idiot, but it did, so … I’m pretty happy about that.”

Through the three-day tournament, the SkyHawks (30-7) played loose and confident. Each day was a workmanlike effort, as numerous players stepped up when needed.

In Saturday’s final, three Skutt players recorded double-digit kills. Sophomore outside hitter Lindsay Krause, a Nebraska recruit, pounded home 15, with seven coming in a dominating first set.

Senior middle hitter Lily Heyne and sophomore outside hitter Shayla McCormick chipped in 11 and 10 kills, respectively.

“Losing to Duchesne and Elkhorn South earlier in the season, we all had that internal fire,” Krause said. “We weren’t going to let it happen again.”

The SkyHawks, who avenged the earlier loss to Omaha Duchesne in Friday’s semifinals, set the tone early in Saturday’s match with the Storm.

Four Krause terminations coupled with a pair of kills from sophomore Cameron Cartwright allowed the SkyHawks to pull away from a 13-11 advantage.

The second set saw Skutt rally from a 20-18 deficit to score seven of the final eight points of the set. Kills by Shayla McCormick and Krause closed the frame.

Runs of five straight points on two separate occasions in the third set by Skutt ended any remaining drama.

“They (Skutt) were in system a lot which made it really challenging for our blockers,” Elkhorn South coach Briana Janda said. “We were on our heels all match and Skutt was hitting on all cylinders.”

As the SkyHawks’ dynasty reached a Class B-record fourth straight championship, Saunders was quick to tip her cap to her players.

“You know everyone is coming for you every single time,” Saunders said. “You play with passion, you play to win, you do everything you can do that’s controllable. I have amazing kids. When you have amazing kids you have trust in them.”

The late lineup change may have put them in position to win, but ultimately, according to Saunders, it was up her players to make the weekend another memorable one.

“They had all the talent in the world," she said. "They just had to let it shine.”


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