The match between the top two ranked Class A volleyball teams in the state did not disappoint Thursday night.
Papillion-La Vista defended its No. 1 rating by rallying from a two-set deficit to post a 23-25, 22-25, 25-20, 25-22, 17-15 win over No. 2 Elkhorn South. The unbeaten Monarchs pulled out the victory in front of a spirited crowd in their home gym.
“Wasn’t that fun?’’ Papio coach John Svehla said. “The big thing tonight was that we kept our composure after losing those first two sets.’’
After the Monarchs captured the third and fourth sets, the evenly matched squads fought through an emotional fifth set. Neither team led by more than two points in the 15-point finale, in which Papio fought off two match points on a kill by Norah Sis and a block by Brooklyn Schram.
With the set tied at 15, senior Jamie Bac came off the bench to serve. The Monarchs won the next two points and the match on kills by Logan Jeffus and Schram.
“Jamie came into a pressure situation and did a great job,’’ Svehla said. “She nailed it, and I’m really proud of her.’’
The coach also lauded Sis, a 6-foot-1 Creighton recruit who led the Monarchs with 27 kills. She had seven in the fifth set as Papio moved its record to 10-0.
“Norah is Norah,’’ Svehla said. “I don’t know what more to say about her.’’
Sis said the Monarchs needed to come up with a way to attack the Storm defense after dropping the first two sets.
“They have a huge block,’’ she said. “We had to figure out a way around that.’’
A major part of that block was provided by 6-4 Nebraska recruit Rylee Gray, who had 21 kills and seven blocks for the 7-1 Storm.
“They are a very talented team,’’ Svehla said. “The match was just back and forth the whole way.’’
A combination block by Gray and Ibi Green gave Elkhorn South the first set 25-23, and an ace by Madi Woodin ended the second set 25-22. The Monarchs then captured the next two sets on blocks by Erica Broin and Chloe Paschal to force the deciding set.
Svehla credited Paschal, who finished with 13 kills, for coming on strong as the match progressed.
“Chloe got off to a rough start,’’ he said. “But she got into a rhythm and we couldn’t have won tonight without her.’’
Jeffus added 12 kills for the Monarchs while Schram, a senior setter, had 52 assists. She also had the important final kill as she deflected the ball just enough at the net to drop it past the Storm defense.
“That was one of the best high school matches I’ve ever seen,’’ Elkhorn South coach Chelsea Potter said. “Their defense was amazing at the end, and that was the difference.’’
Green finished with 17 kills for the Storm while Kylie Weeks had 12. Woodin, who led the state in assists last year as a freshman, handed out 50 on Thursday night.
“This was a great atmosphere and a great match,’’ Svehla said. “I think it really showed what Nebraska volleyball is all about.’’
Elkhorn South (7-1)....................25 25 20 22 15
At Papillion-La Vista (10-0)..........23 22 25 25 17
ES (kills-aces-blocks): Kylie Weeks 12-1-0, Katie Galligan 0-3-0, Brilee Wieseler 7-1-1, Mia Mroczek 3-0-3, Madi Woodin 2-1-0, Rylee Gray 21-0-7, Ibi Green 17-0-2. Totals 62-6-13.
PLV: Norah Sis 27-1-2, Morgan Hickey 7-0-0, Brooklyn Schram 7-0-2, Logan Jeffus 12-0-2, Erica Broin 1-0-1, Chloe Paschal 13-1-1, Ashlee Fettin 0-3-0. Totals 67-5-8.
Set assists: ES 55 (Woodin 50, Estella Zatechka 4, Wieseler 1); PLV 55 (Schram 52, Samantha Riggs 2, Sammie Ziebarth 1).
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From left, Emily Bressman of Omaha Marian, Kalynn Meyer of Superior, Jaiden Centeno of Millard West, Lindsay Krause of Omaha Skutt, McKenna Ruch of Millard North and Marriah Buss of Lincoln Lutheran. Not pictured: Millard North’s Izzy Lukens.
From left: Johnson-Brock’s Fallon Stutheit, Omaha Marian's Lily Heim (honorary captain), Superior’s Kalynn Meyer, Omaha Skutt’s Lindsay Krause, Marian’s Emily Bressman and Papio South’s Taliyah Flores. Not pictured: Malcolm’s Jaela Zimmerman.
Back row from left: Jaela Zimmerman, Malcolm; Taliyah Flores, Papillion-La Vista; Elise Baumann, Millard North; Fallon Stutheit, Johnson-Brock. Front row from left: Sarah Swanson, Elkhorn South; Alli Schomers, Omaha Skutt; Brooke Heyne, Omaha Skutt.
From left: Olivia Nicholson, North Platte; Raegan LeGrand, Papillion-La Vista South; Allison Schomers, Omaha Skutt; Brittany Witt, Omaha Marian; Elizabeth Loschen, Omaha Marian; Hali McArdle, Gretna; Sarah Swanson, Elkhorn South.
From left: Priscilla O'Dowd, Papillion-La Vista; Jessica Peters, Papillion-La Vista; Raegan LeGrand, Papillion-La Vista South; Megan Wickey, Omaha Concordia; Carley Remmers, Freeman; Tiani Reeves, Gothenburg; Brittany Witt, Omaha Marian.
The All-Nebraska football and volleyball teams came together for a photo shoot, and the cover was designed to look like a Facebook page with the teams taking one big selfie.
From left: Lexi Elman, Omaha Marian; Kelly Hunter, Papillion-La Vista South; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Sydney Townsend, Lincoln Pius X; Alyssa Frauendorfer, Humphrey; Michaela Mestl, Kearney Catholic; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South.
From left: Kelly Hunter, Papillion-La Vista South; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Lauren Sieckmann, Elkorn South; Katie Brand, Grand Island Central Catholic; Cassie Effken, Lincoln Pius X; Kate Elman, Omaha Marian.
From left: Emily Wilson, Omaha Gross; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Sara McClinton, Millard North; Chelsea Albers, Papillion-La Vista; Kelly Hunter, Papillion-La Vista South; Lauren Sieckmann, Omaha Marian.
Standing from left: Emily Wilson, Omaha Gross; Kadie Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Sarah Kemp, Bellevue East; Amber Rolfzen, Papillion-La Vista South; Tenisha Matlock, North Platte. Front row from left: Lauren Sieckmann, Omaha Marian; Julianne Mandolfo, Omaha Marian.
From left: Natalie Braun, Lincoln Pius X; Chelsey Feekin, Papillion-La Vista; Hayley Thramer, Ewing; Jamie Straube, Johnson County; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-La Vista; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X.
From left: Tali Fredrickson, Grand Island Central Catholic; Caitlin Mahoney, Omaha Marian; Chelsey Feekin, Papillion-La Vista; Keelin Bourne, Millard North; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-La Vista; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X.
Top from left: Catie Wilson, Omaha Gross; Brooke Delano, Bellevue West; Lauren Cook, Lincoln Pius X. Bottom from left: Gabi Ailes, Bellevue West; Ann Armes, Grand Island; Gina Mancuso, Papillion-La Vista.
From left: Katie Swenson, Omaha Gross; Angela Hlavaty, Lincoln Lutheran; Brooke Delano, Bellevue West; Gabi Ailes, Bellevue West; Brooke Bartek, Lincoln Northeast; Erica Burson, Omaha Gross.
Front row from left: Amanda Gates, Columbus; Jordan Larson, Logan View; Alison Jacobs, Elkhorn; Rachel Schwartz, Lincoln East. Back row from left: Kyla Roehrig, Papillion-La Vista; Korie Lebeda, Omaha Marian.