Class D-1: Diller-Odell wins first state title by defeating defending champion Fremont Bergan

Diller-Odell's Karli Heidemann celebrates a kill with her teammates.

LINCOLN — Diller-Odell now has a state championship banner to hang in its new gymnasium.

The Griffins won their first title Saturday with a 25-19, 25-17, 25-22 victory over Fremont Bergan in the Class D-1 final at the Devaney Center. Diller-Odell finished 36-1, dropping six sets all season.

“I thought we played great from beginning to end today,” coach Kandice Jurgens said. “I thought we really controlled the game.”

The Griffins reached the final in 2015 and 2016 but had to settle for second place. Jurgens said she was glad that wasn’t the case this year as the school finished its $5 million gym, which replaced the one in use for 60 years.

“We didn’t want a runner-up banner going up in the new place,” she said.

The victory came at the expense of the Knights, who fell short in their quest to repeat as D-1 champions.

“We ran into a buzz saw today,” Fremont Bergan coach Sue Wewel said. “Their serving was amazing and kept us off balance the whole match.”

Diller-Odell went to work in the first set, inching to a 16-13 lead. That advantage grew to four before the Griffins captured the set on a kill by freshman Karli Heidemann.

The second set went much the same, as Diller-Odell led most of the way. It took a 2-0 set lead on Mackenzie Vitosh’s kill.

The Knights showed some spark in the third set, tying it 22-22 after a Diller-Odell shot went long. But the Griffins closed it out by winning the next three points, all kills by Heidemann.

Vitosh, who had a match-high 17 kills, said that last point was something special.

“As soon as the ball hit the ground, I collapsed,” she said. “We didn’t want to have that second- place feeling.”

Heidemann had 13 kills and her sister, junior setter Addison Heidemann, had 37 assists.

Jurgens said she was happy to see her team stay focused from start to finish.

“Sometimes we’ll get a big lead and then give it up,” she said. “But I didn’t see any sign of nerves today and we just went out and played strong the whole way.”

Allie DeGroff had seven kills to pace the Knights (30-12).

“It just didn’t click for us today,” Wewel said. “But it was an amazing ride for us this season to get back to the state final.”

Fremont Bergan (30-12)...........19 17 22

Diller-Odell (36-1)....................25 25 25

FB (kills-aces-blocks): Kaia McIntyre 5-0-1, Allie DeGroff 7-0-2, Lauren Baker 6-0-1, Emma Walz 2-0-2, Kennedy Bacon 3-0-0, Hannah Frost 5-0-0.

Diller-Odell: Mackenzie Vitosh 17-1-3, Emily Swanson 8-0-3, Addison Heidemann 4-2-1, Ava Lovitt 4-0-1, Madelyn Meyerle 1-1-0, Karli Heidemann 13-1-2.

Set assists: FB 23 (McIntyre 20, Baker 1, Bacon 1, Rebecca Baker 1); D-O 46 (A. Heidemann 37, Lovitt 2, Meyerle 2, K. Heidemann 4, Kyleigh Barnts 1).