LINCOLN — Jake Moore’s volleyball team continues to surprise him.
His Lincoln Pius X squad did it again Tuesday night, going unbeaten at the annual triangular that included Omaha Marian and Papillion-La Vista. Those three programs have combined for 77 state tournament trips and 16 championships.
“I did not have high expectations at the start of this year,” Moore said. “To be 27-3 at this point in the season amazes me.”
The host Thunderbolts, ranked third in the Nebraska Top 10, started the night by defeating the No. 4 Crusaders 25-17, 14-25, 25-15. Marian then beat the No. 5 Monarchs 25-23, 25-19 before Pius finished the evening with a 25-19, 25-22 win over Papio.
“We’ve been playing this triangular since 1999 and it’s only the third time we’ve gone 2-0,” Moore said. “Our girls did a really nice job.”
Moore added that he wasn’t sure what to expect Tuesday night from his team, which had been idle for 10 days. But the Class B Thunderbolts responded, boosting their record to 13-2 against Class A competition.
Marian was without two starters for its matches. Sophomore Sophia Terwilleger remains sidelined by mononucleosis and sophomore Andie Hanus sat out with a sprained ankle.
After dropping the opening match against Pius, the Crusaders bounced back to defeat the Monarchs. Elizabeth Loschen led Marian in kills in both matches, pounding 12 against Pius and nine against Papio.
“I thought we came out a little shaky in that first match,” Marian coach Rochelle Rohlfs said. “We got more comfortable after that and we played better against Papio.”
The Crusaders are 20-7 while the Monarchs, who went 0-2, are 18-8.
“Both teams played well against us,” Papio coach Kristen Lebeda-Svehla said. “And it’s tough when you’re playing those last two matches back to back because you don’t have much time to recover.”
After pulling away in the first set against the Monarchs, Pius led through much of the second set, opening a 22-15 lead after Papio netted a shot. But the Monarchs battled back within 23-21 behind the strong serving of junior Jessica Peters, who had three consecutive aces.
the Thunderbolts closed out the match with a pair of kills by junior Kaitlin VanLoon. Her final one wasn’t a thing of beauty — more of a desperation swat over the net — but it got the job done and secured the win.
“That was a confusion ball,” Moore said. “But we’ll take it.”
Papillion-La Vista ..... 19 22
At Lincoln Pius X ..... 25 25
PLV (kills-aces-blocks): Rachel Kendall 1-0-0, Jessica Peters 3-5-1, Alissa Schovanec 3-0-1, Nicole Kalina 0-1-0, Elena Melendez 10-0-0, Katie Stephens 7-0-0, Priscilla O’Dowd 4-0-0.
LPX: Marie Foley 3-0-0, Kaitlin VanLoon 14-0-1, Ashley Witt 12-0-0, Brenna Arneson 0-1-0, Sydney Townsend 3-0-0.
Set assists: PLV 28 (Peters 14, Sara Kneifl 12, O’Dowd 2), LPX 29 (Sara Boothe 27, Townsend 2).