O'NEILL -- It was nice for No. 1 Stuart to end the state-leading winning streak nine days ago by beating O'Neill St. Mary's at the Broncos' tournament.
But to do it again Monday night on the Cardinals' home floor?
That's exactly what Stuart did.
The Broncos made another statement in Class D2 by topping the Cardinals 26-24, 25-16 here in the latest chapter of the teams' rivalry.
Coupled with a two-set win over Neligh-Oakdale earlier in the night, Stuart moved to 14-0 on the season for its best start to a season since 2011, when the Broncos were 12-0 before falling to St. Mary's in a triangular.
"It feels really good. It gives us a lot of confidence," Stuart senior Monique Schafer said. "I think all of our girls have a really unbreakable bond, an unbreakable connection. When it comes to a team, there's nothing more you can ask for than that."
Except for the final stretch, the match featured plenty of back-and-forth volleyball, including 11 separate runs of at least three points by one of the teams.
After Sydney Hupp slammed a kill on a quick set following a timeout to bring St. Mary's within 17-14 in set two, Stuart slammed the door shut. A hitting error put Harlee Fischer at the service line, and she powered an ace serve across.
Schafer bounced an out-of-system kill before Fischer screamed back-to-back ace serves across for a commanding 23-14 lead that put the match out of reach.
"Man, that was awesome," Mustin said. "Those were some tough serves, and she pulled through. When anyone gets one of those aces, it gets the team up."
That stretch came after Stuart scored a 7-0 run to take a 10-5 lead, and they never trailed for the rest of the set, including 11 of the match's final 14 points.
It was a stark contrast to the first set, which featured seven runs of at least three points or more.Stuart took the lead after two Fischer kills, and appeared to be in good hands when back-to-back Schafer kills made it 24-22. But kills out of Hupp and Pongratz tied it before Stuart answered to end the set.