Second-ranked Omaha Duchesne swept its way into the Class B state championship match.
But the 28-26, 26-24, 25-23 win over No. 3 Northwest was anything but an easy task. Each set was tightly contested and both teams rarely were more than three points apart.
“We didn’t play our best volleyball, but I’ll tell you what, we battled for every point,” Duchesne coach Andrew Wehrli said.
Northwest had set point in the first set at 24-23, But two kills by Julianna Kalil, another by Mayah Delgado-Walker and a service error by the Vikings helped turn the momentum in favor of the Cardinals.
Kalil finished with 19 kills and Delgado-Walker collected 12.
It took an extra point for the Cardinals to wrestle away the second set 26-24. Kalil came up with two straight kills to tie the set at 24, and Delgado-Walker and Caroline Ortman combined for a block to give Duchesne the advantage.
Northwest fell behind 23-19 in the third set before posting four straight points to tie it, but Delgado-Walker slammed home back-to-back kills to secure the win.
It took five sets for Duchesne to beat Northwest when the teams last met on Oct. 19. Wehrli said Friday’s effort was reminiscent of the way his team has ground out victories.
“We’ve been working for this for the last three years,” he said. “From the first day I came, we talked about it, and I can’t tell you how proud of these kids and how they battled today.”
The semifinal win gives Duchesne the opportunity to avenge its loss to Omaha Skutt in last year’s semifinal. Skutt has swept the Cardinals twice this year.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how our kids battle tomorrow,” Wehrli said. “We’ve battled all year.”
Emma Worthington and Ellie Lammers each finished with 18 digs for Duchesne. Worthington had 46 set assists to spark the Cardinals’ offensive attack. Taryn Mayfield had 12 kills and 23 digs for the Vikings. Sydney Simmons and Megan Bartz had 16 and 10 set assists, respectively.
Duchesne (30-6) will face Skutt at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center. Northwest ends the season 29-9.