Waverly volleyball

Waverly's Whitney Lauenstein celebrates with her team during the Nebraska State Volleyball quarterfinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Thursday, November 07, 2019.

LINCOLN — Of Waverly’s three wins over Grand Island Northwest on the season, the best might be its latest.

After dropping the first set, the second-ranked Vikings rallied for a 23-25, 25-8, 25-17, 25-7 victory Thursday in the first round of Class B state tournament.

“We were really tight in the first set. When we switched sides, we just needed to breathe,” Waverly coach Terri Neujahr said.

The first set went back and forth, but Northwest won the opener with three straight kills.

“At the end of the first set, we did a good job of controlling our errors, and our passers did really well,” Northwest coach Lindsey Harders said. “We kept the ball in play and waited for them to make some errors. Being the underdog, we didn’t have the pressure.”

In the second and third sets, Waverly was able to get the ball cleanly to its hitters, who found the gaps in the defense. Whitney Lauenstein had a match-high 28 kills for the Vikings. Mackenzie Scurto added 11 kills, and Mollie Grosshans finished with nine.

“After the first set, things got a lot better,” Neujahr said.

By the fourth set, Waverly had all the momentum, took a 6-0 lead then finished with a 13-0 run.

“We’ve really worked hard on our serves in the last two weeks,” Neujahr said. “Hitting spots have been important, eliminating errors.”

Ellie Apfel paced Northwest with six kills.

“At the end of the season we were peaking at the right time,” Harders said.

Waverly will play in Friday’s semis against Omaha Duchesne.

“We are young right now — I’m excited for next year,” Harders said. “It’s always bittersweet when the season ends, but when I look on the court and see sophomores and juniors returning. That will help us out tremendously.”

Northwest (21-14) 25 8 17 7

Waverly (29-3) 23 25 25 25

GINW (kills-aces-blocks): Whitney Brown 3-0-0, Taylor Retzlaff 0-2-0, Avery Palu (0-0-0), Sophie McKinney (0-0-0), Ashlynn Brown 1-0-0, Macey Bosard 4-0-1, Ellie Apfel 6-0-0, Rylie McNelis 5-2-0, Lauren Hauser 5-1-0, Claire Caspersen 4-0-0, Makinzi Havranek 0-0-1.

W: Karsen VanScoy 0-1-0, Mackenzie Scurto 11-0-1, Mollie Grosshans 9-0-0, Whitney Lauenstein 24-0-1, Kila Jordon (0-0-0), Annika Evans 5-0-0, Atley Carey 7-0-2.

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