Nebraska high school state volleyball tournament guide

Schedule

Class A — First round Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. Semifinals Friday, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at PBA. Final, 7 p.m. Saturday at Devaney Center.

Class B — First round Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. Semifinals Friday, 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., at PBA. Final, 5 p.m. Saturday at Devaney.

Class C-1 — First round Thursday at Lincoln North Star, 5801 N. 33rd St. Semifinals Friday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., at PBA. Final, 3 p.m. Saturday at Devaney.

Class C-2 — First round Thursday at Lincoln Southwest, 7001 S. 14th St. Semifinals Friday, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., at PBA. Final, 1 p.m. Saturday at Devaney.

Class D-1 — First round Thursday at Lincoln East, 70th and A Streets. Semifinals Friday, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., at PBA. Final, 11 a.m. Saturday at Devaney.

Class D-2 — First round Thursday at Lincoln Southeast, 37th and Van Dorn Streets. Semifinals Friday, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., at PBA. Final, 9 a.m. Saturday at Devaney.

Third-place matches — Saturday at Lincoln Northeast, 2635 N. 63rd St. C-1 at 9 a.m., D-2 at 11 a.m., D-1 at 1 p.m. and C-2 at 3 p.m.

Getting in

Tickets: $9 adults, $6 students

Parking: At Pinnacle, $5 in the Festival Space lot and premium garages. At Devaney, $10. At high school sites, free.

Arena bag policy

Those entering Pinnacle Bank Arena will be allowed to carry in one of the following bags — a clear bag no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches by 6 inches; a small clutch purse or wallet no larger than 4 1⁄2 inches by 6 1⁄2 inches; or a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag.

One of these items also will be permitted — binoculars without case; handheld TVs and radios; and infant feeding supplies.

Prohibited items include purse, backpack, clear backpack, tinted plastic bag, camera case, binocular case, empty plastic water bottle, printed pattern plastic bag, oversized tote bag, mesh bag, diaper bag, fanny pack, umbrellas and professional cameras.

Radio Coverage

B103 (KBIE-FM) and Otoe County Country (KNCY) will carry live coverage of every Johnson-Brock, Syracuse and Falls City Sacred Heart match.

Nebraska high school volleyball rankings

TOP 10 Rec. Prv.

1. Millard North 35-2 1

2. Lincoln Pius X 34-2 2

3. Millard South 25-13 5

4. Elkhorn South 29-8 6

5. Omaha Skutt 27-7 3

6. Omaha Duchesne 30-6 4

7. Millard West 21-9 7

8. Papillion-La Vista 25-13 8

9. Omaha Marian 26-11 9

10. Gretna 22-7 10

CLASS A

1. Millard North 35-2 1

2. Lincoln Pius X 34-2 2

3. Millard South 25-13 3

4. Millard West 21-9 4

5. Papillion-La Vista 25-13 5

6. Omaha Marian 26-11 6

7. Gretna 22-7 7

8. Papillion-La Vista South 18-17 8

9. Bellevue West 20-17 10

10. Kearney 22-14 9

CLASS B

1. Elkhorn South 29-8 3

2. Omaha Skutt 27-7 1

3. Omaha Duchesne 30-6 2

4. Waverly 26-7 5

5. Elkhorn 21-15 6

6. Alliance 29-5 7

7. Norris 24-11 4

8. Grand Island NW 21-14 9

9. Sidney 26-9 8

10. Seward 29-7 10

CLASS C-1

1. Wahoo 32-2 1

2. Lincoln Lutheran 32-3 2

3. Wahoo Neumann 29-3 3

4. Grand Island CC 30-4 4

5. St. Paul 33-1 5

6. Syracuse 26-3 6

7. Columbus Scotus 19-9 8

8. Wayne 25-9 10

9. Minden 22-12 NR

10. Broken Bow 23-8 NR

CLASS C-2

1. Stanton 29-1 1

2. Superior 29-2 2

3. Blue Hill 29-2 3

4. Hartington CC 28-4 4

5. Thayer Central 26-6 5

6. Hastings St. Cecilia 22-10 6

7. Clarkson/Leigh 24-8 7

8. Battle Creek 22-10 8

9. Freeman 21-11 10

10. Doniphan-Trumbull 21-9 9

CLASS D-1

1. Fremont Bergan 30-4 1

2. Johnson-Brock 29-3 2

3. Pleasanton 31-2 3

4. Humphrey/Lindsay HF 27-4 4

5. Nebraska Christian 26-4 5

6. Cambridge 25-5 6

7. Diller-Odell 26-7 8

8. North Platte St. Pat’s 24-8 NR

9. Norfolk Lutheran NE 22-12 7

10. Hartington-Newcastle 24-6 9

CLASS D-2

1. BDS 27-4 2

2. Ewing 29-2 1

3. Exeter-Milligan 23-8 3

4. CWC 25-7 5

5. Mullen 27-3 4

6. Wynot 23-4 6

7. Cody-Kilgore 25-5 7

8. Falls City Sacred Heart 22-11 9

9. Mead 15-12 8

10. Humphrey St. Francis 17-12 10

CLASS C-1

AT LINCOLN NORTH STAR

No. 6 Syracuse (26-3) vs. No. 3 St. Paul (33-1), 1:30 p.m.: The Rockets, who haven’t reached state in five years, have three players with more than 240 kills. The once-beaten Wildcats, making their second state trip in three years, are led by senior Hayley Fox (489 kills).

Radio: KNCY 1600 AM, 105.5 FM and ncnsportsnow.com

No. 2 Lincoln Lutheran (32-3) vs. No. 7 Columbus Scotus (19-9), 3:30: The Warriors, back at state for the second straight year, are led by junior Marriah Buss (551 kills). The Shamrocks lead the state in championships with 15 but have not scored one since 2011.

No. 4 Wahoo Neumann (29-3) vs. No. 5 Grand Island Central Catholic (30-4), 5:30: The Cavaliers, who finished third in 2016 but missed state last year, count on senior Kelsie Cada (379 kills). The Crusaders, last year’s state runner-up, are led by UNO recruit Megan Woods (462 kills).

No. 8 Wayne (25-9) vs. No. 1 Wahoo (32-2), 7:30: It’s been five years since the Blue Devils reached state, but a district-final win over Mitchell did the trick. The defending champion Warriors have three players — Kyla Swanson and sisters Elly and Mya Larson — who combined for almost 1,000 kills this season.

CLASS C-2

AT LINCOLN SOUTHWEST

No. 3 Blue Hill (29-2) vs. No. 6 Hastings St. Cecilia (22-10), 1:30 p.m.: This will be the third straight trip to state for the Bobcats, who have three players with more than 200 kills. The Hawkettes, who missed state last year for the first time in seven years, are led by junior Tori Thomas (305 kills),

No. 2 Stanton (29-1) vs. No. 7 Battle Creek (22-10), 3:30: The Mustangs, who are making their fourth straight trip to the tourney, have two players — Bree Burtwistle and Jessie Brandl — with 287 kills. The Bravettes, who have five players with at least 100 kills, reached state for the first time in 10 years.

No. 1 Superior (29-2) vs. No. 8 Freeman (21-11), 5:30: Nebraska recruit Kalynn Meyer pounded 447 kills this season for the defending champion Wildcats. The Falcons, making their first appearance since 2015, are led by senior Kayla Haynes (428 kills).

No. 4 Thayer Central (26-6) vs. No. 5 Hartington Cedar Catholic (28-4), 7:30: The Titans, who are back at state after a six-year absence, are led by 5-7 Emily Welch (467 kills). The Trojans, making their third straight trip, are seeking redemption after losing to Superior in last year’s five-set final.

Defending champion Wahoo can rely on experience in a loaded C-1 state volleyball field

Wahoo will head to this week’s state volleyball tournament in an unfamiliar role — defending champion.

The Warriors won their first title last year, capping a 34-2 season with a sweep of Grand Island Central Catholic. Wahoo did not drop a set in three state matches and graduated just three seniors.

“It’s nice to have that experience back,’’ coach Trish Larson said. “We also have some newcomers who have contributed, so it’s been a really good mix.’’

Wahoo enters this year’s tourney with a 32-2 mark, losing only to Class B Omaha Duchesne and Class C-1 rival Lincoln Lutheran. The top-ranked Warriors split a pair of matches with second-ranked Lutheran, winning the most recent one Oct. 20.

Larson said her team is prepared for its second straight trip to state and fourth overall.

“We’re going in composed and confident,’’ she said. “We know that we’ve had a target on our back all season, but the girls have handled it well.’’

One newcomer who has made an immediate impact has been Mya Larson. The 5-11 freshman — daughter of the coach — leads the team with 385 kills.

Also putting up big numbers are Kyla Swanson (316 kills) and Mya’s older sister Elly Larson (282). Sophomore setter Elle Glock, a Southern Cal recruit, has 992 assists.

Coach Larson said she expects another dogfight when the C-1 portion of the tourney opens Thursday at Lincoln North Star. Other top contenders include 32-3 Lincoln Lutheran, 33-1 St. Paul, 29-3 Wahoo Neumann, 30-4 Grand Island Central Catholic and 26-3 Syracuse.

Also in the field are Columbus Scotus and Wayne. The Shamrocks have won a state-leading 15 championships, while the Blue Devils have won 11 of their past 13 matches.

“The field is strong,’’ Trish Larson said. “But hopefully our girls can rise to the occasion.’’

The coach added that it’s been a season-long goal to return to state and try to defend that title.

“I know the team isn’t content yet, and that’s good,’’ she said. “We’ve tried to keep getting better as the season goes along, and I think we’ve done that.’’

The Warriors open the tourney at 7:30 p.m. Thursday against Wayne.

CLASS D-1

AT LINCOLN EAST

No. 4 Pleasanton (29-2) vs. No. 5 Nebraska Christian (26-4), 1:30 p.m.

The Bulldogs, making their first state tourney appearance in 20 years, has an offense that features four players with at least 175 kills. The Eagles, who finished fourth at state last year, rely on big hitter Grace Langemeier (362 kills).

No. 1 Fremont Bergan (30-4) vs. No. 8 North Platte St. Patrick’s (24-8), 3:30 p.m.

The Knights’ big hitter is senior Lexie Langley (344 kills), but senior setter Allison Dieckmann (876 assists) also plays a key role. The Lady Irish reached state for the first time since 2012 after a four-set upset over Norfolk Lutheran in a district final.

No. 3 Humphrey/Lindsay HF vs. No. 6 Diller-Odell (26-7), 5:30 p.m.

The Bulldogs, making their first state tourney appearance since 2013, rely on 6-foot-2 senior Taya Beller (360 kills, 63 blocks). The Griffins, who missed state last season after reaching the tourney three straight years, have a double threat in juniors Emily Swanson (263 kills) and Mackenzie Vitosh (262 kills).

No. 7 Cambridge (25-5) vs. No. 2 Johnson-Brock (29-3), 7:30 p.m.

Radio: B103 (103.1 FM, b103.fm and ncnsportsnow.com)

The Trojans, who haven’t been to state in 10 years, can count on junior Korynn Clason (375 kills). The three-time defending state champion Eagles again are led by Fallon Stutheit, one of the top hitters in the state with 407 kills.

CLASS D-2

AT LINCOLN SOUTHEAST

No. 8 Falls City Sacred Heart (22-11) vs. No. 1 Ewing (29-2), 1:30 p.m.

Radio: B103 (103.1 FM, b103.fm and ncnsportsnow.com)

The Irish reached state for the first time in five years, rallying for a four-set win over Kenesaw in the district final. The Tigers made noise at state last year, reaching the final before falling to Exeter-Milligan.

No. 5 Exeter-Milligan (23-8) vs. No. 4 Wynot (23-4), 3:30 p.m.

The defending champion Timberwolves have been to state five straight years and won five state titles dating to 2009. The Blue Devils, the state runners-up in 2016, have five players with at least 130 kills.

No. 2 BDS (27-4) vs. No. 7 Cody-Kilgore (25-5), 5:30 p.m.

The co-op of Bruning-Davenport/Shickley, making its fourth state tournament appearance, is led by Jadyn Kleinschmidt (288 kills). The Cowboys, led by Addison Johnson (354 kills), made their only previous state tourney appearance in 1984.

No. 3 Mullen (27-3) vs. No. 6 CWC (25-7), 7:30 p.m.

This will be the eighth appearance at state for the Broncos, who are still seeking their first tournament victory. The co-op of Chambers/Wheeler Central will be making its fourth state appearance and first since a fourth-place finish in 2016.

Last season’s result fuels Fremont Bergan’s drive for a state volleyball title

Losing at the state tournament can be powerful incentive for the next season.

That’s the case at Fremont Bergan, which was ousted in the first round of the 2017 tournament.

“Our goal was to get back to state,” Knights coach Sue Wewel said. “The team has been on a mission this year.”

Bergan saw last season end with a four-set loss to Stanton in Class C-2. The Knights are competing in D-1 this year, and the move has been a positive.

Wewel’s squad is 30-4 and enters state as the No. 1 seed. The Knights’ only losses have come against C-1 powers Wahoo Neumann (twice) and Lincoln Lutheran (twice).

“We had a lot of players back this year so I knew we had it in us to be successful,” the coach said. “And I think getting there last year has prepared us mentally for this year.”

The Knights also have one of the state’s top coaches. Wewel has 649 career wins, 16th on the state’s career list and seventh among active coaches.

Bergan is led by 6-foot senior Lexie Langley, who has 344 kills. Also putting up big numbers have been senior Haley Kempf (244 kills), junior Allie DeGroff (193) and sophomore Lauren Baker (140).

Senior setter Allison Dieckmann has 876 assists.

Wewel hopes the strong season will lead to a state championship, something the school has never achieved.

“I know that everyone is excited about that possibility,” she said. “The girls have worked so hard and they’re ready to go give it their best shot.”

But the Knights have a huge obstacle looming on the other side of the eight-team bracket. Second seed Johnson- Brock will be seeking its fourth consecutive title, something that has happened seven times in tourney history.

The teams played Sept. 29 in the final of the Fort Calhoun Invitational, with Bergan sweeping the match.

“More than anything else, it showed that we could compete with them,” Wewel said. “But we’ve got some tough matches to play before maybe seeing them again and we’re not looking past anyone.”

Bergan opens tourney play at 3:30 p.m. Thursday against North Platte St. Patrick.

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