Millard North

Millard North's Kate Galvin celebrates with her teammates after the Mustangs defeated No. 1 seed Papillion-La Vista.

LINCOLN — Millard North, perhaps the most dangerous No. 8 seed ever at the state volleyball tournament, proved it Thursday against top-ranked Papillion-La Vista.

The Mustangs posted a 19-25, 25-23, 25-9, 25-16 win in a first-round Class A match at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Millard North advanced to a 5 p.m. semifinal Friday, while Papio ends its season 36-2.

The Mustangs entered the tourney 10-24 after having to forfeit 14 wins for using an ineligible player. That dropped them to the lowest seed, but the defending champions responded with a big effort against the Monarchs.

“I thought we showed some nerves in that first set,” Millard North coach Lindsay Peterson said. “But in the second set, our experience showed.”

After Papio grabbed that first set, the second set proved to be pivotal. The Monarchs held a 22-21 advantage, but the Mustangs captured four of the final five points.

“They grabbed the momentum at the end of that second set,” Papio coach John Svehla said. “And we just couldn’t get it back.”

Millard North rode that momentum to a 16-point win in the third set and kept it going in the fourth. The Mustangs led 8-4 and extended it to 14-7, forcing Svehla to use his final timeout.

It didn’t help as Millard North kept up the pressure. Behind the big hitting of McKenna Ruch and Eve Fountain, the Mustangs finished off the match.

“They’re two very different hitters,” Peterson said. “I think that makes them both hard to defend.”

Ruch and Fountain each finished with 18 kills. Senior setter Izzy Lukens dished out 43 assists.

Creighton recruit Norah Sis led the Monarchs with 19 kills.

Peterson said her squad was excited about playing Papio, a team it hadn’t seen since September. Papio won both previous matches.

“That seems like a long time ago,” she said. “I felt like we were really ready to play today.”

It was a tough end of the season for the Monarchs, who started the year 34-0. They also lost to Papillion-La Vista South at the Metro Conference tournament.

“We had some breakdowns today, and doubt started to creep in,” Svehla said. “They had us scrambling and they were the better team today.”

Millard North (11-24)................19 25 25 25

Papillion-La Vista (36-2).............25 23 9 16

MN (kills-aces-blocks): Kate Galvin 0-1-0, Mollie Fee 6-2-2, Molly Plahn 4-0-3, Lauren Maciejewski 1-1-1, Eve Fountain 18-2-2, Izzy Lukens 2-2-0, McKenna Ruch 18-0-2.

PLV: Norah Sis 19-0-1, Morgan Hickey 4-0-1, Samantha Riggs 0-2-0, Brooklyn Schram 3-0-1, Logan Jeffus 7-0-0, Erica Broin 3-0-1, Chloe Paschal 7-1-1.

Set assists: MN 45 (Lukens 43, Galvin 1, Maciejewski 1); PLV 39 (Schram 34, Riggs 4, Paschal 1).