Duchesne vs. Waverly

Waverly's Bailey Jeffers spikes the ball at Duchesne's Allison Brown, left, and Caroline Ortman during the semifinals of the Nebraska state volleyball tournament at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Friday, November 08, 2019.

LINCOLN — After one of the most challenging years in his coaching career, Omaha Duchesne coach Andrew Wehrli is ready to flip the script.

Duchesne struggled through position changes, a challenging Class A-heavy schedule and 17 losses to earn a spot in the Class B final with a 25-22, 13-25, 21-25, 25-18, 15-7 come-from-behind win over second-ranked Waverly on Friday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Now Duchesne will get another shot at the four-time defending champion, Omaha Skutt.

In each of the past five years, Skutt ended the Cardinals’ season.

“I’m tired of losing to them. I like my chances,” Wehrli said. “They’ve ended our seasons all five years I’ve been at Duschene. I’m ready to do something different.”

Duchesne’s only other trip to the state final came in 2017 against — of course — the SkyHawks.

The SkyHawks dominated Duchesne in a match at Sokol Arena on Oct. 17. Wehrli said that loss was a turning point for his team.

When they met again nine days later in the River Cities Conference tournament, the Cardinals played better, but still fell in straight sets.

In the first meeting, “we played like we were intimidated by them,” Wehrli said. “I don’t think that’s going to be the case tomorrow. I feel like we are ready and as ready as we are going to be.”

Against Waverly, the fourth-ranked Cardinals won the first set, then dropped the next two. A decision to switch rotations paid off midway through as Duchesne scored seven straight points to take a 22-14 lead.

The momentum carried over to the fifth set as the Cardinals scored eight of the first 10 points and cruised the rest of the way. The Duchesne block also came alive late and caused Waverly’s hitters to become less aggressive.

Waverly coach Terri Neujahr said a Duchesne rotation change caught the Vikings (29-4) in a weak spot that spiraled out of control and they couldn’t recover.

“They had a different server serving into one of our weaker serve receive rotations and we couldn’t get out of it,” she said.

Mayah Delgado Walker led the Cardinals with 17 kills, while Kaitlyn Knobbe and MP Taylor added 15 each. Bailey Jeffers recorded 18 kills to pace the Vikings.

Omaha Duchesne (23-17)... 25 13 21 25 15

Waverly (29-4)................... 22 25 25 18    7

OD (kills-aces-blocks): Delgado Walker 17-0-2, Taylor 15-1-2, Knobbe 15-0-2, Ortman 9-0-1, Brown 4-0-2, Capelle 0-2-0, Bressani 0-1-0. Totals 63-4-9.

W: Jeffers 18-0-1, Lauenstein 14-0-3, Plouzek 10-0-1, Carey 8-0-2, Evans 2-0-1, Grosshans 2-0-0, VanScoy 0-2-0. Totals 54-2-8.

Set assists: OD 52 (Neely 28, Capelle 22, Ortman 1, Bressani 1), W 50 (Evans 47, VanScoy 2, Plouzek 1).

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