Gretna wins

Gretna players celebrate after defeating Millard West during the first-round of the Class A state volleyball tournament.

LINCOLN — Gretna kept its dream of the program’s first championship alive Thursday night.

The Dragons defeated Millard West 25-14, 11-25, 25-15, 25-22 at Pinnacle Bank Arena to advance to play Millard North in a 5 p.m. semifinal Friday.

The Dragons, in their second season of Class A play, finished as the Class B runners-up twice. They were eliminated in the semifinal round last year by the eventual champion Mustangs.

Gretna started strong, rolling to an 11-point win in the opening set. But the Wildcats battled back to take the second set by 14, capturing the final point on a kill by Bridget Smith.

“They steamrolled us,’’ Gretna coach Mike Brandon said. “I told our girls that we needed to refocus in that third set.’’

Gretna did, opening an early lead and refusing to give it up. The Dragons finished off the set on a kill by senior Lydia Yost.

The fourth set was tied 5-5 until Gretna went on a 5-0 run to take the lead. Millard West tied it 12-12 on a kill by Sadie Millard, but another kill by Yost gave the Dragons the lead for good.

Gretna finished off the match when a Millard West serve sailed long.

“We work all year on playing in tight situations,’’ Brandon said. “That’s what that whole fourth set was like.’’

Yost led Gretna with 18 kills while Skylar McCune added 17. Emma Prentice chipped in 12 kills while setter Lauren Anderson had 47 assists.

Millard and Cameron Young each had nine kills for the Wildcats.

“I told the girls that we’d accomplished a lot just getting down here,’’ Millard West coach Joe Wessel said. “There are four or five very good teams sitting home.’’

Next up for Gretna is Millard North, which knocked off top-ranked Papillion-La Vista Thursday. The Dragons opened the season with a four-set road win against the Mustangs.

“They have a lot of talented athletes,’’ Brandon said. “We’ll see how it goes.’’

Gretna (27-10)..................25  11  25  25

Millard West (21-12).........14  25  15  22

G (kills-aces-blocks): Skylar McCune 17-0-0, Lydia Yost 18-0-1, Morgan Sangl 0-1-0, Lauren Anderson 1-0-1, Avery Kallman 2-0-2, Emma Prentice 12-0-4, Brooklyn Schuler 3-0-0, Kenedy Schaecher 0-4-0.

MW: Sadie Millard 9-2-5, Ella Hazen 7-0-1, Bridget Smith 4-1-0, Hannah Domandle 8-0-0, Gabi Nordaker 7-0-5, Cameron Young 9-0-0.

Set assists: G 53 (Anderson 47, Schaecher 6), MW 36 (Smith 34, Hazen 1, Grace Schiemann 1).