Omaha Skutt

Omaha Skutt's Allison Gray, left, and Cameron Cartwright try to block a shot by Norris.

LINCOLN — All Omaha Skutt had to do was stop thinking.

Skutt coach Renee Saunders said the SkyHawks were playing timidly, forcing low-percentage plays and not having much fun on the court during the first 1½ sets. However, once Skutt started to trust its instincts and used its natural abilities, the match started to turn around.

As a result, the top-ranked Skutt pulled out a 25-22, 27-25, 25-18 win over Norris Friday evening in a Class B semifinal at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“We were overthinking everything,” Saunders said. “Once we settled down and stopped using our brains so much and just played volleyball, we were a lot better.”

No. 3 Norris used a strong block to slow the Skutt attack in the first set, and the Titans jumped to a 7-3 lead.

After Skutt tied the set 12-12, SkyHawks outside hitter Lindsay Krause took over. The Nebraska commit had kills on Skutt’s final five points in the first set. The 6-foot-3 junior finished with 12 of her 26 kills during the first set.

In a back-and-forth second set, the Titans (27-10) pulled to a 22-17 lead. But Krause delivered again, sparking a 6-0 run with three kills and a stuff block. Norris rebounded and had two set points. This time, Skutt’s Megan Skovsende, who tallied 10 kills for the match, finished the set with back-to-back kills.

Krause said the key part of the SkyHawks pulling out the second set was trusting in their serve-receive and that their teammates would do their job.

“We got to that point and we were like we shouldn’t have let it get this far,” Krause said. “We needed to have that urgency and went on a mission like we’re not going to lose this set. We were lucky enough to come back.”

Skutt (29-4) then dominated the third set to clinch its sixth straight trip to the championship match, which it’s won the past four years.

Norris was led by 12 kills from Ella Waters and 11 from Kalli Kroeker. Norris coach Christina Boesiger said she was proud of how her team held its own against a more experienced Skutt squad.

“It was amazing volleyball,” she said. “We have nothing to hang our heads about. That was the best we’ve played all postseason.

“We keep peaking and peaking. For them to come out there with that performance, I’m so proud of them.”

Norris (27-10)................22 25 18

Omaha Skutt (29-4).......25 27 25

N (kills-aces-blocks): Waters 12-1-0, Kroeker 11-0-5, Jelinek 7-0-0, Kircher 4-0-3, Stai 3-0-3, Ramsey 2-2-0. Totals 39-3-11.

OS: Krause 26-0-1, Skovsende 10-0-1, Cartwright 8-0-2, Heyne 6-0-2, Schomers 2-0-1, Werner 2-0-0, Gray 1-0-4, Diederich 0-1-0. Totals 55-1-11.

Set assists: N 34 (Boesiger 29, Ramsey 4, Kroeker 1), OS 51 (Gray 48, Skovsende 2, Skala 1).

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