Papio continued their magical season on Wednesday night as they clinched a berth in the state volleyball tournament next week in Lincoln. The Monarchs defeated Omaha Westside in straight sets and kept Westside on their toes the entire match.
Papio won the first set 25-12, took the second set 25-11 and won the third set 25-13.
Taking the first set and getting that momentum was a key factor for Papio head coach John Svehla.
“I think it was important for them to get into a rhythm” Svehla said. “We really pressed bringing that energy and I thought in the first set they brought that and that really set the tone for the rest of the match.”
Another thing that the Monarchs were key on all night was their chemistry. They were talking and moving around the entire match successfully. Coach Svehla mentioned the team’s leadership and off court relationships as the most important part of the teams chemistry.
“It starts with our leadership, whether it’s the seniors or whomever, but they just really get along” Svehla said. “They enjoy being together and I think that’s what brings the chemistry. When you have that, it makes it look pretty good. Our goal is we really want to bring that energy and chemistry moving forward and that communication piece of it to state.”
He added “This is a good way to end the districts and lead us into state”
Norah Sis led the Monarchs with 18 kills and Chloe Paschal added nine. Brooklyn Schram finished with seven kills. Morgan Hickey, Logan Jeffus and Erica Broin each added five kills.
Paschal and Sis added 14 and 10 digs, respectively. Sophomore Samantha Riggs recorded 11 digs as well.
This depth is something that the Monarchs have viewed as a benefit all season and something that Svehla credits to his team, first and foremost.
“They love each other and they play for each other” Svehla said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a Norah Sis or someone that doesn’t play as much, we all have a role and they all believe in that role. They have embraced that and that’s what really makes them a great team because they have embraced that and they bring it every time.”
Svehla was also very complimentary of Sis and how her play helps out the rest of the team.
“It opens it up for a lot of others because teams have to account for her. Whether it is front row or back row, teams have to account for her and where she is at and that opens it up for our middles and right sides.”
“It is definitely nice to have” he added, with a laugh.
Papio will be the number one seed in the state tournament. Play begins next Thursday, October 7th.
Papio swept Grand Island in straight sets in the second round match to earn a spot in the championship game.
Bellevue East earned the No. 3 seed in the Class A-1 district, but lost to Omaha Westside in the second round of the tournament 3-2.
Katie Mendick led the way for the Chieftains totaling 17 kills and Nicole Binder added 15. Baylee Greene and Liv Reitsma recorded 23 and 21 digs, respectively.