Class D-2 No. 3 Wynot survived a scare to pick up its 25th win of the season, rallying past Falls City Sacred Heart in five sets in the first round of the state volleyball tournament Thursday night at Lincoln Northeast High School.
The Blue Devils (25-3) won 27-25, 13-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-11 to keep alive their hopes for what would be their first state championship.
“When you’re down here (at the state tournament), you can’t play with any fear,” Wynot coach Tammy Wieseler said.
“No matter what the score is, no matter what is going on on the court. I think we got a little scared at points.”
Wynot found itself in a hole early on, with the Irish leading the first set 24-21.
That’s when practice kicked in for the Blue Devils.
“We’ve been in situations like that this season,” Wieseler said. “In practice we have done drills where we are down one and have to win two-of-three to stay alive.”
Well, practice paid off.
The Blue Devils rallied to take the first set 27-25 and won two of the next three sets to force a fifth.
“We definitely were not on the same page the entire time,” Wieseler said, “but we are just strong at the core in the big moments in the match.”
Falls City Sacred Heart couldn’t find its grove at times, and head coach Susan Witt pointed to youthfulness as a main reason for the struggles.
“We were playing with mostly sophomores out there,” Witt said. “I think, at times, the moment was a little too much.”
Whitney Hochstein led the way for Wynot with 12 kills, while Keitlyn Heimes added eight kills and four blocks.
McKenzie Witt led the Irish (21-14) with 17 kills.
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Wynot will face No. 1 BDS in the state semifinals on Friday at 11 a.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
BDS 4, Bertrand 3: The Eagles' title defense is still alive, despite losing the first two sets of their state tournament opener to No. 4 Bertrand.
“We are a pretty young team,” BDS coach Kari Jo Alfs said. “I think we just forgot to finish those first two sets. We were right where we wanted to be and in the last three we came through.”
BDS (28-4) rallied to win 21-25, 24-26, 25-18, 25-21, 15-12.
Bertrand (25-6) strung together an impressive first two sets, however. The Vikings trailed 24-19 in the second set, but scored seven in a row and took the second set 26-24 for a commanding 2-0 lead.
Both teams traded blows in the final three sets, with BDS finally gaining some footing and advancing to the semifinals.
Macy Kamler had 19 kills for the Eagles.
Lawrence-Nelson 3, Giltner 0: No. 2 Lawrence-Nelson cruised into the semifinals with a 25-10, 25-8, 25-14 win against No. 8 Giltner.
The Raiders (30-4) used 12 ace serves, including six from senior Karigan Drudik, to put away the Hornets (21-11).
Senior Taylor Harrington had eight kills and sophomore Emma Epley had five kills and 11 blocks for the Raiders, who are back at state for the first time since 2015.
Humphrey St. Francis 3, Garden County 0: No. 5 Humphrey St. Francis overcame some early nerves then rolled to a three-set sweep (25-14, 25-10, 25-10) of No. 7 Garden County behind 17 kills from Caitlin Jarosz and five aces by Alissa Kosch.
The Flyers had three service aces in the first 19 points of the match, then Kosch served up four aces in five points. St. Francis won eight of 10 at 17-12 to take the first set, jumped out to a 19-4 advantage in the third then won 10 of 11 rallies leading 4-3 in the third.
Humphrey St. Frances will play No. 2 Lawrence Nelson in a semifinal at 9 a.m. Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Check back later for updates to this story.