LINCOLN — Blue Hill continued showing its grit at the state volleyball tournament.
One day after rallying from a 14-11 fifth-set deficit to defeat top-ranked Stanton, the No. 3 Bobcats came back from a 19-10 fourth-set deficit to defeat No. 4 Hartington Cedar Catholic 25-16, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24 in the Class C-2 state championship match Saturday at the Devaney Center.
Bobcats coach Kristi Allen said she wasn’t surprised to see Blue Hill fight back the way it did. At match point, Jamie Bonifas dived into the scorers table to keep a ball alive, which led to Rylee Kohmetscher’s match-high 16th kill.
“These girls have fought like that all season long,” Allen said. “We’ve been down nine or 10 points before in a set and came back to win. They just have that competitive edge and work ethic like no other. I joke that they would step in and knock over their mothers to get to a ball. But that’s how they are. They would do anything to get the ball up.”
A balanced attack helped the Bobcats deliver their school’s first state volleyball championship. To go along with Kohmetscher’s kills, Emily Meyer chipped in 10, Kacey Allen, Kristi’s daughter, had nine and Madison Menke had eight.
“We’ve been dreaming of this ever since we were little,” Kacey Allen said. “Everybody dreams about it and not everyone acts on their dreams. It feels great that we were able to accomplish this goal.”
Kohmetscher and Blue Hill came out firing in the first set. The 5-9 senior had five kills.
Meanwhile, errors in the opening two sets haunted Hartington Cedar Catholic, which fell in the state finals for the second consecutive season. The Trojans, who swept No. 2 and defending state champion Superior on Friday, committed 14 hitting errors and seven service errors.
“We weren’t getting good first contacts, whether it was on the serve or pass,” Cedar Catholic coach Danae Buss said. “We had to get our passes up to our setters so they can deliver them to our hitters. As for our serving, we tend to error a lot because we are aggressive. We just needed to stay aggressive but be a little more consistent.
“But give them credit. Blue Hill is a very well-rounded team that plays very good defense.”
Cedar Catholic started to get into rhythm with its offense as it didn’t commit the errors in the third set. The Trojans went on a 10-2 run with two ace serves to go up 19-10 in the third and didn’t let up.
It was the same story early in the fourth set as Cedar Catholic went up 19-10.
“I was a little worried at that point because I was afraid we weren’t going to have the legs in the fifth,” coach Allen said.
But slowly, Blue Hill kept fighting back. Kacey Allen delivered two kills to help slice into its deficit.
As the Bobcats’ comeback continued, errors plagued the Trojans. Their final one tied the match at 24-all.
Then setter Jamie Bonifas gave Blue Hill the lead with a kill, setting up her dive into the scorer’s table and Kohmetscher’s kill to end it.
“We just had to get our offense going, and once we did, we really played well,” Buss said. “We just needed to capitalize in that fourth set and we just let it slip away. I think we might have relaxed a little when we got ahead by that big margin. They started to come back. We let it get too close and then we got predictable.”
The Trojans were balanced as well. Jade Cattau led Cedar Catholic with 12 kills, while Madison Wieseler added 11, Abigail Hochstein chipped in eight and Kenlee Goeden had seven.
Hartington CC (30-5) 16 21 25 24
Blue Hill (32-2) 25 25 14 26
Hartington CC (kills-aces-blocks): Jada Cattau 12-1-1, Brianna Miller 6-3-4, Madison Wieseler 11-1-5, Abigail Hochstein 8-2-2, Tori Arens 2-0-1, Kenlee Goeden 7-0-5, Aiden Wortmann 0-0-0, Megan Heimes 0-0-0. Totals 46-7-18.
Blue Hill (kills-aces-blocks): Brooklyn Kohmetscher 1-0-1, Jamie Bonifas 4-1-2, Rylee Kohmetscher 14-0-4, Kacey Allen 9-1-0, Madison Menke 8-0-0, Emily Meyer 10-1-3, Brianna Danehey 0-0-0. Totals 46-3-10.
Set assists: HCC 45 (Wieseler 22, Wortmann 20, Arens 2, Hochstein 1). BH 41 (Bonifas 36, Danehey 3, Menke 2).
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