Three-time defending Class B state champion Omaha Skutt felt it had something to prove in Friday’s semifinal match against No. 2 Omaha Duchesne.
The SkyHawks had a chip on their shoulders after the Cardinals handed them a two-set loss back on Oct. 27 in the River Cities Conference Tournament.
“Our kids definitely had something to prove,” Skutt coach Renee Saunders said. “I don’t want to call it revenge, but our girls wanted this one.”
Third-ranked Skutt played arguably one of its best matches of the season and was led by Nebraska recruit and super-sophomore Lindsay Krause, who had 16 kills, as the SkyHawks cruised to a 25-23, 25-20, 25-22 win Friday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The SkyHawks will vie for their fourth consecutive state title Saturday at 5 p.m. against Elkhorn South at the Devaney Sports Center.
Krause’s partner-in-crime, sophomore outside hitter Shayla McCormick, also was a thorn in the Cardinals’ side, racking up 15 kills.
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The duo seemed to feed off one another as the match wore on and combined for nine kills in the third set which saw the SkyHawks rally from a 14-5 deficit to win.
“We both know how to use our energy to encourage one another,” Krause said. “This year we only have two seniors — and they’re both excellent leaders — but some of us underclassmen have had to step up and lead this year, too.”
One of those senior leaders — 6-foot-2 middle hitter Sydney McDermott — made her presence felt, as well. McDermott contributed six kills and two blocks, while controlling the middle of the net for much of the match with fellow senior Lily Heyne who ended with seven kills.
McDermott’s kill broke a 17-17 tie in the third set. McCormick added an ace block on the following point and the SkyHawks never trailed afterward.
“Our goal was to beat them after the last time we played them,” McCormick said. “Lindsay and I have played with each other for awhile now and tonight we really connected with (setter) Allison (Gray).”
Gray, who finished with 42 set assists was quick to receive praise from her head coach.
“Gray distributed the ball so well tonight,” Saunders said. “That was just two great teams, executing well.
“We have some great athletes and when they decide to play volleyball, they can be really, really good.”
Duchense coach Andrew Wehrli, whose team finished 31-7, said Skutt’s ability to get his team out of system proved key.
“They just got us out of system more than we kept them out of system,” Wehrli said. “Really, that’s what it came down to.”