The Gretna volleyball team made its Metro Conference debut something special Thursday night.
The Dragons posted a season-opening road win over Millard North, the defending Class A champion. Gretna captured the match 25-23, 23-25, 26-24, 25-16.
“I’ll take that,’’ Dragons coach Mike Brandon said. “Our girls gave a great effort all night.’’
Gretna, ranked No. 8 in the Nebraska Top 10, showed no sign of jitters against the No. 2 Mustangs. The Dragons are stepping up this season from the Eastern Midlands Conference to the Metro.
Millard North, which went 38-2 last season, let the first set slip away after leading 15-11. Gretna got it tied at 23-23, then kills by Emma Prentice and Skylar McCune gave the Dragons a 1-0 edge.
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Brandon’s squad opened an 8-1 lead in the second set before the Mustangs regrouped.
Millard North rallied to finish off a close set, winning 25-23 to square the match.
Senior Lydia Yost then helped the Dragons regain the momentum. She had nine kills and three consecutive aces in the third set for Gretna, which won 26-24 after a final-point kill by Avery Kallman.
“We felt like it was now or never in that third set,’’ Yost said. “We didn’t want this match to slip away.’’
Gretna didn’t let that happen, taking the fourth 25-16. McCune, who had the kill to end the first set, did the same to end the match.
“I thought we played with a lot of confidence all night,’’ Brandon said. “I told them that we needed to stay aggressive, and they did.’’
Yost led the Dragons with 15 kills, while McCune and Kallman each had 11. Senior setter Lauren Anderson dished out 37 assists.
The Mustangs received big performances from their two returning all-staters — outside hitter McKenna Ruch and setter Izzy Lukens — but it wasn’t enough. Ruch pounded a match-high 22 kills, while Lukens had 38 assists and five kills.
Brandon said he was happy with the win but tried to temper his team’s enthusiasm after the match.
“It was a good start, but that’s 1-0,’’ he said. “We’ve still got a long season ahead of us.’’
The same can be said for the Mustangs, who won their first 19 matches last year before suffering their first loss. Seven seniors, including four starters, graduated from that championship squad.
“We know they’re going to get better as the season goes along,’’ Brandon said. “And we’re going to need to do the same.’’
Gretna (1-0)....................25 23 26 25
At Millard North (0-1).......23 25 24 16
G (kills-aces-blocks): Skylar McCune 11-1-1, Kenedy Schaecher 0-4-0, Lydia Yost 15-4-0, Lauren Anderson 1-2-0, Avery Kallman 11-0-4, Emma Prentice 4-0-2, Brooklyn Schuler 4-0-2.
MN: Mollie Fee 3-0-0, Molly Plahn 5-0-3, Lauren Maciejewski 0-5-0, Jenna Hamilton 4-3-0, Eve Fountain 10-0-0, Izzy Lukens 5-0-0, McKenna Ruch 22-1-0.
Set assists: G 41 (Anderson 37, Schaecher 3, Kallman 1); MN 39 (Lukens 38, Fountain 1).
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From left, Emily Bressman of Omaha Marian, Kalynn Meyer of Superior, Jaiden Centeno of Millard West, Lindsay Krause of Omaha Skutt, McKenna Ruch of Millard North and Marriah Buss of Lincoln Lutheran. Not pictured: Millard North’s Izzy Lukens.
From left: Johnson-Brock’s Fallon Stutheit, Omaha Marian's Lily Heim (honorary captain), Superior’s Kalynn Meyer, Omaha Skutt’s Lindsay Krause, Marian’s Emily Bressman and Papio South’s Taliyah Flores. Not pictured: Malcolm’s Jaela Zimmerman.
2016: Back row from left: Jaela Zimmerman, Malcolm; Taliyah Flores, Papillion-La Vista; Elise Baumann, Millard North; Fallon Stutheit, Johnson-Brock. Front row from left: Sarah Swanson, Elkhorn South; Alli Schomers, Omaha Skutt; Brooke Heyne, Omaha Skutt.
2015: From left: Olivia Nicholson, North Platte; Raegan LeGrand, Papillion-La Vista South; Allison Schomers, Omaha Skutt; Brittany Witt, Omaha Marian; Elizabeth Loschen, Omaha Marian; Hali McArdle, Gretna; Sarah Swanson, Elkhorn South.
2014: From left: Priscilla O'Dowd, Papillion-La Vista; Jessica Peters, Papillion-La Vista; Raegan LeGrand, Papillion-La Vista South; Megan Wickey, Omaha Concordia; Carley Remmers, Freeman; Tiani Reeves, Gothenburg; Brittany Witt, Omaha Marian.
2013: The All-Nebraska football and volleyball teams came together for a photo shoot, and the cover was designed to look like a Facebook page with the teams taking one big selfie.
2012: From left: Lexi Elman, Omaha Marian; Kelly Hunter, Papillion-La Vista South; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Sydney Townsend, Lincoln Pius X; Alyssa Frauendorfer, Humphrey; Michaela Mestl, Kearney Catholic; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South.
2011: From left: Kelly Hunter, Papillion-La Vista South; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Lauren Sieckmann, Elkorn South; Katie Brand, Grand Island Central Catholic; Cassie Effken, Lincoln Pius X; Kate Elman, Omaha Marian.
2010: From left: Emily Wilson, Omaha Gross; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Sara McClinton, Millard North; Chelsea Albers, Papillion-La Vista; Kelly Hunter, Papillion-La Vista South; Lauren Sieckmann, Omaha Marian.
2009: Standing from left: Emily Wilson, Omaha Gross; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Sarah Kemp, Bellevue East; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Tenisha Matlock, North Platte. Front row from left: Lauren Sieckmann, Omaha Marian; Julianne Mandolfo, Omaha Marian.
2008: From left: Natalie Braun, Lincoln Pius X; Chelsey Feekin, Papillion-La Vista; Hayley Thramer, Ewing; Jamie Straube, Johnson County; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-La Vista; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X.
2007: From left: Tali Fredrickson, Grand Island Central Catholic; Caitlin Mahoney, Omaha Marian; Chelsey Feekin, Papillion-La Vista; Keelin Bourne, Millard North; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-La Vista; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X.
2006: Top from left: Catie Wilson, Omaha Gross; Brooke Delano, Bellevue West; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X. Bottom from left: Gabi Ailes, Bellevue West; Ann Armes, Grand Island; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-La Vista.
2005: From left: Katie Swenson, Omaha Gross; Angela Hlavaty, Lincoln Lutheran; Brooke Delano, Bellevue West; Gabi Ailes, Bellevue West; Brooke Bartek, Lincoln Northeast; Erica Burson, Omaha Gross.
2004: Front row from left: Amanda Gates, Columbus; Jordan Larson, Logan View; Alison Jacobs, Elkhorn; Rachel Schwartz, Lincoln East. Back row from left: Kyla Roehrig, Papillion-La Vista; Korie Lebeda, Omaha Marian.