Top-ranked Papillion-La Vista South looms as the top seed in the Metro Conference volleyball tournament, but other schools also have much at stake.
Take Bellevue West, for example.
The Thunderbirds (19-13) are seeded sixth but hope to finish strong in an effort to boost their wild-card points. A solid showing also would help their seeding for districts.
“I'm really proud of the way our team has competed,” first-year coach Sara Bayer said. “The Metro Conference tourney is always a tough one, but I like the way we've been playing.”
The three-day Metro tourney will be held Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Competition the first day will take place at Papillion-La Vista and Papillion-La Vista South, while all matches Wednesday and Thursday will be played at Papio High.
Bayer's Thunderbirds will play their opening match Monday at 5 p.m. against crosstown rival Bellevue East. Bellevue West, ranked 10th in Class A, is 2-0 against the Chieftains this season.
“It's a great rivalry,” Bayer said. “Hopefully we can start off the tournament with a win.”
Bayer, an assistant at Bellevue West before becoming the head coach, said the volleyball program is moving in the right direction. A winning record was one goal, something the Thunderbirds haven't achieved in recent years.
“We're getting things turned around,” she said. “To be over .500 at this point in the season is a step forward.”
The first-year coach is aware of the school's strong volleyball tradition — 12 state championships from 1989 to 2006. But she also knows Bellevue West has not been back to state since that last title.
“When you see all those banners hanging in the gym, it's impressive,” Bayer said. “We want to do everything we can to get back there.”
Pool play will take place Monday, with the top two teams in each of the four pools advancing to Wednesday's quarterfinals. The semifinals will be played at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday and the best-of-five championship match will be played at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The schedule (team seeding in parentheses):
Monday (at Papillion-La Vista South) — Pool A: Papillion-La Vista South (1) vs. Omaha South (16), 4 p.m. Omaha Burke (8) vs. Omaha Central (9), 5. Papio South vs. Central, 6. Burke vs. South, 7. Papio South vs. Burke, 8. Central vs. South, 9. Pool D: Millard West (3) vs. Omaha Bryan (14), 4. Bellevue West (6) vs. Bellevue East (11), 5. Millard West vs. Bellevue East, 6. Bellevue West vs. Bryan, 7. Millard West vs. Bellevue West, 8. Bellevue East vs. Bryan, 9.
Monday (at Papillion-La Vista) — Pool B: Millard North (4) vs. Omaha North (13), 4 p.m. Papillion-La Vista (5) vs. Omaha Benson (12), 5. Millard North vs. Benson, 6. Papillion-La Vista vs. North, 7. Millard North vs. Papillion-La Vista, 8. Benson vs. North, 9. Pool C: Omaha Marian (2) vs. Omaha Northwest (15), 4; Omaha Westside (7) vs. Millard South (10), 5. Marian vs. Millard South, 6. Westside vs. Northwest, 7. Marian vs. Westside, 8. Millard South vs. Northwest, 9.
Wednesday (at Papillion-La Vista) — North gym: Pool A No. 1 vs. Pool C No. 2, 4 p.m. Pool B No. 1 vs. Pool D No. 2, 5:15. Winners play at 6:30. South gym: Pool C No. 1 vs. Pool A No. 2, 4. Pool D No. 1 vs. Pool B No. 2, 5:15. Winners play at 6:30.
Thursday (at Papillion-La Vista) — North gym: Championship (best 3 of 5), 7 p.m.
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