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D-2 state volleyball, BDS vs. Wynot, 11.8

BDS' Malory Dickson (26), Jennifer Holtzen (10) and Taylor Sliva (7) celebrate after winning in five sets against Wynot in a Class D-2 state semifinal match on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The Class D-2 state volleyball tournament semifinals did not disappoint Friday, delivering a pair of five-set thrillers to set up the championship match.

No. 1 BDS rallied in the fourth set over No. 3 Wynot with a 30-28 victory and dominated the fifth to have a shot at repeating its D-2 state title. The Eagles took the match 20-25, 25-11, 14-25, 30-28, 15-2 and will face No. 5 Humphrey St. Francis after the Flyers knocked off No. 2 and top-seeded Lawrence-Nelson 25-19, 12-25, 25-12, 21-25, 15-13.

“All you have to do is be two points better at the end,” BDS coach Kari Jo Alfs said. “We talk about that a lot throughout the year. We just have to be two points better at the end. Don't worry if you are behind a point, it's not over until it's over.”

With Wynot having match-point chances in the fourth set against BDS, Eagles coach Kari Jo Alfs asked her team an important question during a timeout.

“We've faced Lawrence-Nelson twice this year, and we've split with them,” Alfs said. “The real message to the team was, do you want to face Lawrence-Nelson tomorrow or do you want to face St. Francis?” Alfs said. “If you don't want to go play the consolation match against Lawrence-Nelson you better go find a way to win.

“That's basically what I told the girls and I kind of got it drilled in their heads, they should know that, but sometimes they are girls and forget those things. I told them they have to come out with a lot of fire, and if they come out with more fire than the other team, we'll be fine.”

Regan Alfs was a key contributor in putting the Eagles into Saturday's championship with 18 kills, six coming in the fourth set against Wynot. Macy Kamler finished with a game-high 19 kills to lead the Eagles.

The Eagles' defense was also a key in the match, as five players finished with double-digit digs, led by Mariah Sliva's 20.

“I just told the girls we have stay composed and we have to do the little things,” Alfs said. “We basically have to stay with our fundamentals and do everything right to paint the big picture.

“We play the best when we smile and when we have fun. I told the girls we need to make sure to show no emotion when things go wrong, you have to retain your emotions inside and you have to keep encouraging each other. They kept it intact and came out with so much fire and didn't give up.”

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It was a different story for No. 2 Lawrence-Nelson, which could not overcome the mental game in the loss to St. Francis.

In the fifth set, the Raiders looked like they were cruising to a blowout victory and reaching the championship for the first time since 2010.

A 6-0 lead dwindled to 6-3 with three consecutive errors, allowing the Flyers to rally for 15 of the next 22 points.

“We were working really hard to get the ball back and then we would have a serving error,” Lawrence-Nelson coach Jamie Lay said. “We would get a good dig, and then have a hitting error. It hurt our momentum a lot, and we ultimately kind of killed ourselves in that one.”

The Raiders, led by 18 kills from Hallie Epley, finished with 55 kills to St. Francis' 34. Allison Weidner led the Flyers with 14.

“I definitely credit St. Francis,” Lay said. “They are a strong team, and they played a cleaner game then we did today. I think we could definitely have had a different outcome, but the played well today.”

BDS will go for its second consecutive state championship at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center. St. Francis has not won a title since 2005 (D-1), and finished runner-up in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

Lawrence-Nelson will face Wynot in the third-place match at 11 a.m. at Lincoln East.

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

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