The seventh seeded Papio South Titans swept the No. 2 seed Elkhorn South Storm 3-0 (25-21, 26-24 and 25-21) to advance to the semifinals in the Class A state tournament against Lincoln Pius X.
"(This last month) never surprised me," Papio South head coach Katie Wright said. "I think it's surprised other people, but I've known what they are capable of from the beginning. It's just a matter of putting it all together."
The Titans got off to a great start, taking the first set 25-21. Their communication and movement was in great shape early in this one and that set the tone for the entire match.
The Titans then won a tightly contested second set 26-24, fending off multiple runs by the Storm and closing out the set in strong fashion.
The Storm went up 15-10 in the third, but a 7-2 run from the Titans made it 17-17.
Papio South took a 20-18 lead, forcing an Elkhorn South timeout. The Titans would use this momentum to ride out a victory in the third 25-21, winning the match in the process.
The Titans shut the door on an Elkhorn South team that came back from 2-0 down against Gretna in the semifinal match of the Metro Tournament two weeks ago.
"I told them after set two, that they did that and are capable of coming back after two losses," Wright said. "So we expected them to fight and we know that they've got some really great players. But we also knew what our game plan was and we stuck to it."
Sophie Hendrix totaled 14 kills and 22 digs, while Dalanie Vallinch and Ava LeGrand added 25 and 19 digs, respectively. Ashlyn Dierks added 16 digs and 12 assists.
The Titans defense did most of the damage throughout the game. Even when it didn't result in points, Papio South deflected most of the Storm's kill attempts. The Titans totaled 13 solo blocks in the match.
"We talk about staying the course all the time and how we let the other team make the error. We just get the ball back over and we played with patience until it's our turn to put the ball away," Wright said. "So, I think, they're showing that maturity. They're kind of a young team. We've got a freshman and two sophomores that we lean on. So we're pretty young, but I think they're maturing rapidly."