Bishop Neumann made just the right adjustments after the Cavaliers' opening set in the Class C-1 state tournament Thursday. The fourth-ranked Cavaliers bounced back to earn a 14-25, 25-22, 25-22, 25-20 victory over No. 3 Grand Island Central Catholic.
Central Catholic's Megan Woods had seven kills and the Crusaders had just two errors in the opening set. Woods was held to 13 kills over the next three sets and GICC racked up 30 unforced errors.
"We had our right side move their block out a little bit on her (Woods). I didn't think we closed well at all in the first set," said Neumann coach Brandi Sladky. "We got after our middles a bit and had them get out on her."
The Cavaliers also found their rhythm offensively, with Kelsie Cada and Kali Jurgensmeier combining for 33 kills.
"We have to be in system. If we have to go to the outside every time, that's an easy block," said Sladky. "I think we did a better job of passing in the second, third and fourth sets and we were able to get the ball to the middles more. We had three options just about every time.
"Our mantra all season has been if we can pass and be in system, we're good. We want to go up against a split block or a single block as often as we possibly can. I thought we did that after the first set."
Cada had seven kills in the second set to get Neumann back on track. Jurgensmeier had six in the third set and Cada had eight in the final set. Jurgensmeier closed out the victory with a kill.
GICC coach Sharon Zavala said Neumann, which had beaten her squad twice in the regular season, got into rhythm.
"At lot of it was they served really tough, so then we were out of system a lot," said Zavala. "They played a little quicker than we did and we had a lot of errors.
"We were passing the ball on the money in the first set. We had just two errors in the first set and they were on missed serves."
Wahoo 3, Wayne 0: Elly Larson and Kyla Swanson didn't leave anything to chance when Wahoo opened its title defense in the Class C-1 state volleyball tournament.
The two seniors took charge in the opening set, combining for 11 kills to set the tone for top-ranked Wahoo, which went on to beat Wayne 25-12, 25-11, 25-16.
"I think we've been pretty consistent with that all season, taking charge with authority," Swanson said. "The whole team contributes to leadership. All seven of us that play are leaders."
Swanson finished with 13 kills and Larson had 11 for the Warriors, who advance to Friday's 3 p.m. semifinal at Pinnacle Bank Arena against cross-town rival Bishop Neumann.
"Because we have just two seniors, I know that we both need to step up," Larson said. "We have different personalities. Kyla is fun and very positive and I'm more like the 'get-them-focused" person. I still have fun, but I like to get the team focused."
Season-long kill leader, freshman Mya Larson, spent most of the first set in the back row, but more than made up for it in the second set, when she registered seven of her team-high 14 kills.
"Kyla and I are in the front row together most of the time," said Elly Larson, Mya's big sister. "So they're all worried about who are they going to block. But then we have this other outside hitter in Mya. We're strong hitters and have so much volleyball experience. When I go back row or when Kyla goes out, we know we have weapons up front."
Swanson said defense and passing were the difference for Wahoo. The Warriors had 54 digs and sophomore setter Elle Glock had 43 assists.
"Our passers did a great job and even if the pass is a little off, Elle is an amazing setter and she can throw it in just about anywhere," Swanson said.
Wahoo beat Neumann in straight sets in district play, but Swanson said the Warriors can't take anything for granted. In the third set against Wayne, the Blue Devils were in front or tied until Mya Larson's kill put the Warriors on top for good at 10-9.
"Sometimes when we're doing really good, we tend to relax a little bit and get comfortable," Swanson said. "Normally, we're able to pull ourselves right out of it."