WAVERLY, Neb. — Norris avenged two earlier losses to Waverly by defeating the host Vikings in the final of the Eastern Midlands Conference tournament final.
The Titans dropped the first set Saturday but rallied for a 22-25, 25-19, 25-17 victory. They lost two mid-September matches against Waverly, including one at the Norris tourney.
“That was a big part of it,’’ Titans coach Christina Boesiger said. “The team also wanted to go back to back in winning this tournament.’’
Norris captured the EMC tourney title in 2017 for the first time since the Titans won it in 1994, when Boesiger played for the team.
“This is such a tough tournament to win,’’ she said. “That’s what makes this such an accomplishment.’’
Norris reached the final by defeating Plattsmouth in the first round and Gretna in the semifinals. The two-set sweep of the Class A Dragons was especially impressive.
“That doesn’t happen very often,’’ Boesiger said. “That gave us a lot of confidence heading into the final.’’
Waverly defeated Blair in the first round and outlasted Elkhorn in a three-set semifinal. The Vikings also had reached the final of the Lincoln Northeast Invitational the previous weekend.
Norris opened a 17-13 lead in the first set but couldn’t hold it. The Vikings tied it at 17 and went ahead for good at 22-21 on a kill by Whitney Lauenstein.
Two more kills by Lauenstein and a combination block by Kelsey Perrotto and Tyza Hoos gave the opening set to Waverly.
The Titans didn’t let the lead slip away in the second set, pulling away to a 20-12 advantage on a block by Nyah Chambers. Norris eventually won the set and tied the match on a Waverly hitting error.
The third set was tied several times, the last at 15-15 after the Vikings netted a serve. From that point, Norris went on a 10-2 run to secure its second straight title.
Chambers served three straight points as the Titans went ahead 18-15. Two blocks by Kalli Kroeker and one by Ella Waters extended the lead, and Norris moved ahead 24-17 after a Waverly net violation.
Serving for the match, junior Maddie Clauss fired a deep shot near the sideline. The ball landed just in, and Clauss’ ace gave the Titans the championship.
“Once we got a little bit of a lead, we stayed aggressive,’’ Boesiger said. “We kept attacking, and I think that was the difference.’’
Waverly coach Terri Neujahr said falling behind by more than one point late proved to be too much for her team to overcome.
“Once we got down by two, that was huge,’’ she said. “Then they pulled away a little bit more and we just couldn’t get the momentum back.’’
Brianna Stai led a balanced Norris attack with seven kills. Paige Wilkinson had six, while Michaela Boon and Ella Waters each had five.
Boon and freshman setter Maisie Boesiger combined for 24 assists.
Lauenstein had a match-high 14 kills for the Vikings, while Perrotto had nine. Setter Annika Evans had 32 assists and six kills.
“Our practice kept getting better and better as the week went on,’’ Christina Boesiger said. “That got us ready for today.’’
Norris (18-9)…………..22 25 25
At Waverly (21-7)…….25 19 17
N (kills-aces-blocks): Maddie Clauss 0-1-0, Paige Wilkinson 6-0-1, Michaela Boon 5-2-0, Maisie Boesiger 0-3-0, Kalli Kroeker 2-0-2, Nyah Chambers 3-1-3, Ella Waters 5-0-3, Brianna Stai 7-0-1.
W: Karsen VanScoy 0-1-0, Kelsey Perrotto 9-1-1, Kennedy Van Scoy 0-2-0, Abigail Clarke 1-0-2, Mollie Grosshans 6-0-0, Whitney Lauenstein 14-0-0, Maddy Wells 0-2-0, Tyza Hoos 4-0-1, Annika Evans 6-1-1.
Set assists: N 27 (Boon 15, Boesiger 9, Lauren Borer 1, Wilkinson 1, Maddy Ramsey 1). W 33 (Evans 32, Perrotto 1).