Norris

Norris' Billie Kircher is blocked by Platteview's Anna Koehler and Aubrey Staudt during the first round of the Class B state volleyball tournament.

World-Herald staff writer Mike Patterson breaks down the semifinal matchups  in the Nebraska high school state volleyball tournament.

 * * *

Class A

Millard North (11-24) vs. Gretna (27-10), 5 p.m.: The Mustangs used the 1-2 tandem of McKenna Ruch and Eve Fountain — each with 18 kills — to eliminate top-seeded Papillion-La Vista. The Dragons roared back from a second-set lull, capturing the final two sets and the match against Millard West.

The pick: The Mustangs looked scary-good against Papio ... they look very capable of playing for their second straight title.

Papio South (21-17) vs. Lincoln Pius X (30-6), 7 p.m.: The Titans roared through districts and did the same Thursday night, posting a surprising sweep over Elkhorn South. The Thunderbolts’ versatile attack was too much for Millard South as Pius took down the match in four sets.

The pick: Papio South is playing its best volleyball but a slight edge to the Thunderbolts to make it back to the state final for the second straight year.

Class B 

Omaha Skutt (32-5) vs. Norris (27-9), 5 p.m.: The SkyHawks dominated Hastings in a first-rounder, which included Skutt posting a 25-2 win in the first set. The Titans had it much tougher against Platteview but rallied in the fourth set to finish off the match.

The pick: We saw nothing Thursday that would change our mind about Skutt ... the SkyHawks advance to play for their fifth straight championship.

Waverly (29-3) vs. Omaha Duchesne (22-17), 7 p.m.: The Vikings dropped the first set against Grand Island Northwest but stormed back to win the next three. The Cardinals’ saw their tough schedule pay off as they ousted Sidney in three straight.

The pick: The teams played a five-setter this season with Waverly prevailing, so we’ll give the nod to the Vikings to reach the championship.

Class C-1 

St. Paul (34-0) vs. Broken Bow (33-2), 1 p.m.: The unbeaten Wildcats remained perfect — and we do mean perfect — as they still have not dropped a set this season; they defeated Battle Creek on Thursday. The Indians got 24 kills from Majesta Valasek in a four-set win over Wayne.

The pick: Broken Bow is good but how do you pick against St. Paul? We can’t do it ... the Wildcats advance to the final.

Wahoo (29-3) vs. Lincoln Lutheran (35-3), 3 p.m.: Wahoo got 23 kills from Mya Larson in a three-set sweep of Norfolk Catholic. Lutheran got 20 kills from go-to hitter Marriah Buss as it sent Chadron home in three sets.

The pick: It’s tempting to take Lutheran — last year’s C-1 runner-up — but we’ll stick with Wahoo to keep its hopes for a third straight title alive.

Sign up for daily headlines from NEPrepZone

Get a daily roundup of game recaps, player features and more in your inbox.

Class C-2 

Hastings St. Cecilia (33-3) vs. Norfolk Lutheran (30-6), 1 p.m.: The Hawkettes looked like a No. 1 seed, rolling past Arcadia/Loup City. The Eagles needed four sets and 27 kills from Rebecca Gebhardt to defeat Wahoo Neumann.

The pick: St. Cecilia has seven championships to its credit and we see them moving on to try for an eighth one Saturday.

Superior (30-2) vs. Grand Island CC (26-5), 3 p.m.: The sisters Meyer — Kalynn and Shayla — each had 27 kills in a four-set win over Wisner-Pilger. The Crusaders had an easier time, defeating Summerland — Clearwater, Orchard, Ewing — in three sets.

The pick: GICC’s diversified offense could pose problems but the Wildcats, with the Meyer girls leading the way, eke out a narrow win to advance to the final.

Class D-1 

Pleasanton (31-1) vs. Fremont Bergan (29-11), 9 a.m.: The Bulldogs dropped a set but got 23 kills from Katelyn Lindner in a four-set win over Central Valley. The defending champion Knights also lost a set but subdued Overton in four with Allie DeGroff (17 kills) leading the way.

The pick: Tough one here but we’ll stay with battle-tested Bergan to advance to the final in quest of a second straight title.

Diller-Odell (34-1) vs. Hartington CC (19-12), 11 a.m.: The top-ranked Griffins rolled past Humboldt-TRS in three sets with Mackenzie Vitosh leading the way with 17 kills. The Trojans did much the same to CWC as Abby Hochstein had 14 kills in a sweep.

The pick: Both teams were impressive Thursday but the edge goes to Diller-Odell to stay on track for its first title.

Class D-2 

Lawrence-Nelson (30-4) vs. Humphrey St. Francis (23-4), 9 a.m.: The top-seeded Raiders looked good in their opener, sweeping eighth-seeded Giltner. The Flyers did the same to Garden County as Caitlin Jarosz had 17 kills.

The pick: Two good teams but a slight edge to Lawrence-Nelson to advance in quest of its second title.

Wynot (25-3) vs. BDS (28-4), 11 a.m.: The Blue Devils were pushed by Falls City Sacred Heart but prevailed in five sets. The Eagles got a scare from sixth-seeded Bertrand but rallied from a two-set deficit to win in five.

The pick: We’ll give defending-champion BDS a slight edge to deprive Wynot a shot at its first title.