LINCOLN — After losing the second set, Lincoln Pius X stormed back in a big way Thursday night.
The Thunderbolts roared to a 10-0 lead in the third set and never let up, topping Millard South 25-22, 21-25, 25-8, 25-20 in first-round action at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The victory lifted the 30-6 Thunderbolts into a 7 p.m. semifinal Friday against Papillion-La Vista South. It also ended the season for the 24-13 Patriots.
Pius, the Class A runner-up last year, navigated through a tough first set. Millard South closed to 24-22 on a kill by Maggie Madej, but a block by Cora Thomas ended it for the Thunderbolts.
The Patriots took a late lead in the second set and wouldn’t give it up. They scored the final three points, winning the set on a block by Paige Fixemer.
“It felt good to get that set,” Millard South coach Jaisa Poppleton said. “But we made a lineup adjustment at the start of the third set, and it really backfired on us.”
Pius coach Katie Wenz said her team learned from that second set.
“There was some chaos and we sort of fell apart,” she said. “We talked about doing a better job of serving and passing.”
The Thunderbolts did better in that third set, winning the first 10 points. Millard South couldn’t recover, and Pius took a 2-1 set lead.
Millard South tried to stay alive in the fourth, closing to 18-17 on a Pius net violation. The Thunderbolts won the next four points and eventually captured the match when a Millard South serve went long.
Kylen Sealock had 19 kills to pace Pius while Lauren Taubenheim added 11.
“Their offense is great and they put up a very good block,” Poppleton said. “And their setters are threats all the time.”
Maddie MacTaggart had 13 kills for the Patriots, while Madej added nine.
“I told the kids I was proud of the fact we took that set from them,” Poppleton said. “But it just wasn’t enough tonight.”
Millard South (24-13).....22 25 8 20
Lincoln Pius X (30-6)......25 21 25 25
MS (kills-aces-blocks): Maddie MacTaggart 13-0-0, Paige Fixemer 5-0-5, Laci Abendroth 3-0-4, Elyse Globe 2-0-1, Makayla Fleming 1-0-0, Maggie Madej 9-0-3, Kenley Montagne 3-0-0.
LPX: Cora Thomas 9-3-1, Regan Haith 1-0-0, Lauren Taubenheim 11-2-2, Kylen Sealock 19-1-0, Alexis Markowski 9-0-6, Adison Markowski 2-3-0, Hannah Pham 2-0-0, Carly Rodaway 9-0-2.
Set assists: MS 36 (Fleming 32, Sam Steele 4). LPX 59 (Pham 31, Ad. Markowski 27, Taubenheim 1).