Once Omaha Skutt got past the first two points of the match Thursday night, the rest came fairly easy.
The SkyHawks rolled to a 25-13, 25-15, 25-17 win over Omaha Duchesne at Creighton’s Sokol Arena, where the match was moved to accommodate a crowd too big for the Cardinals’ small gym.
“It was special for the kids to play in this environment,” Skutt coach Renee Saunders said. “I thought we were focused most of the night.”
That probably didn’t include those first two points as Duchesne senior Kaitlin Neely fired a pair of aces.
“Nerves,” Saunders said. “We settled down after that.”
Then Skutt stormed back behind Nebraska recruit Lindsay Krause, who had six kills and two blocks in the opening set. The SkyHawks opened a 14-7 edge and took the set on an ace Allie Gray.
Saunders’ team kept up the pressure in the second set, sprinting to an 8-1 lead and cruised from there. The Cardinals’ deficit grew to double digits before Megan Skovsende ended the set with an ace.
The third set was closer, but the SkyHawks managed to keep a lead of at least five points most of the way. Skutt captured the set and the match on a kill by junior Grace Werner.
“I think our girls were a little nervous about playing them,” Duchesne coach Andrew Wehrli said. “We still need to learn that they’re just another opponent.”
An opponent that has had the Cardinals’ number recently. Skutt, the four-time defending Class B champ, has ended Duchesne’s season each of the past four years at state.
“They were playing a lot faster than we were,” Wehrli said. “But we’ll learn from this one and hopefully do better the next time.”
The teams could play two more times — once at the River Cities Conference tournament and again at state.
Krause led the Top 10 No. 2 SkyHawks with 19 kills, but Saunders said several other players also deserved credit.
“I thought we had a nice, balanced attack tonight,” she said. “And Allie did a great job setting.”
Gray, an Arizona State recruit, finished with 30 assists. She also had three kills, two aces and a block.
Skovsende had seven kills while Werner and Cameron Cartwright each had five.
“It was great to play here,” Wehrli said. “But they were the better team tonight.”
Omaha Skutt (23-5)...................25 25 25
At Omaha Duchesne (15-13).......13 15 17
OS (kills-aces-blocks): Abby Schomers 4-0-1, Grace Werner 5-0-1, Megan Skovsende 7-2-2, Cameron Cartwright 5-0-1, Olivia Rouw 0-1-0, Lauren Diederich 0-1-0, Lindsay Krause 19-0-2, Allie Gray 3-2-1. Totals 43-6-8.
OD: Meghan Pellett 0-1-0, Kaitlyn Knobbe 3-0-1, Emily Kaup 1-0-0, Allison Brown 1-0-0, Caroline Ortman 7-0-1, Mayah Delgado 5-0-1, Kiersten Capelle 0-1-0, Kaitlin Neely 0-2-0, Mary Pat Taylor 2-0-0. Totals 19-4-3.
Set assists: OS 33 (Gray 30, Bre Skala 3), OD 19 (Capelle 11, Neely 8).
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.