LINCOLN — Papillion-La Vista rode the momentum of a first-set rally Saturday to the championship of the Lincoln Public Schools Classic.
The top-ranked Monarchs moved to 17-0 with a 26-24, 25-17 victory over second-ranked Elkhorn South in the final at Lincoln Southeast. Papio trailed 18-11 in the first set before rallying.
“Our girls feel as though they’re never out of it,’’ Monarchs coach John Svehla said. “We don’t give up, but it would be nice not to face those deficits.’’
The final of the 16-team tourney was a rematch from nine days earlier. Papio won that night in five sets, taking the final one 17-15.
“Anytime we play them, we know it’s going to be a battle,’’ Svehla said. “We came out a little tight today and they took advantage of it.’’
The 16-3 Storm started strong in the first set, grabbing a quick lead and widening it to 18-11 on a kill by Lexy Booth. The Monarchs fought back and went on an 11-4 run to finally get it tied at 22 on an ace by Norah Sis.
After the Monarchs won the next two points, Elkhorn South fought off two set points to tie it up 24-24. Papio closed it out on a kill by setter Brooklyn Schram and one by middle hitter Logan Jeffus.
“We just tried to get it back one point at a time,’’ Svehla said. “And winning that first set gave us a lot of momentum going into the second one.’’
Sis, a Creighton recruit who finished with a match-high 11 kills, said the team was determined to get off to a better start in that second set.
“We knew that we had to bring more energy,’’ she said. “We stuck to our game plan and went for everything.’’
The Monarchs sprinted to a 13-7 lead in that second set, leading Storm coach Chelsea Potter to call a timeout. Elkhorn South couldn’t regain the momentum and fell behind 19-10 on a Sis kill as Potter used her final timeout.
Papio’s advantage never was less than seven the rest of the way, and the Monarchs eventually ended the match on a kill by Jeffus.
Svehla said it was nice to still be unbeaten but added that’s not the ultimate goal.
“We’re happy with that, but we definitely have room for growth,’’ he said. “Still, being undefeated isn’t a bad thing.’’
“Our main goal is to win state,’’ she said. “We’re not putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to be undefeated.’’
Jeffus had five kills for the Monarchs, and Schram had three kills and 25 assists.
Kylie Weeks led Elkhorn South with nine kills while setter Madi Woodin had 23 assists.
Papio’s perfect mark will be tested Tuesday night in a road match at Gretna. The Monarchs defeated the Dragons in Saturday’s three-set semifinal.
Elkhorn South, which defeated Papillion-La Vista South in the other semifinal, is idle until Saturday when it hosts Hastings.
Elkhorn South (16-3) 24 17
Papillion-La Vista (17-0) 26 25
ES (kills-aces-blocks): Estella Zatechka 0-1-0, Kylie Weeks 9-1-1, Lexy Booth 4-0-1, Rylee Gray 5-1-2, Kaitlin Thiebauth 1-0-0, Ibi Green 4-0-1.
PLV: Norah Sis 11-1-1, Morgan Hickey 4-0-1, Brooklyn Schram 3-0-2, Logan Jeffus 5-0-1, Erica Broin 2-0-3, Chloe Paschal 4-0-0, Ashlee Fettin 0-1-0.
Set assists: ES 23 (Woodin 23); PLV 25 (Schram 25).