FREMONT, Neb. — For state tournament regular Columbus Scotus, the hope to return to that destination remained alive Tuesday night.
For Columbus Lakeview, seeking a trip to state for the first time since 1981, the season ended once again in frustration.
The Shamrocks, ranked fourth in Class C-1, prevailed in five sets over the seventh-ranked Vikings in a C1-4 subdistrict final at Fremont High. Scotus won the first two sets and then hung on for a 25-15, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 15-12 win.
“We found a way,” Shamrocks coach Joe Held said. “This match was a great challenge for our girls, and they responded to it.”
The match proved to be a real test for perennial power Scotus, which has more state titles (15) than any other school and has missed state just once since 1989. On the other side of the net was Lakeview, which has no titles and hasn’t been to state in 34 years.
The Shamrocks appeared on their way to a fairly easy sweep. Scotus was up two sets to none and led 17-11 in the third set before the Vikings got rolling.
Lakeview rallied from that six-point deficit to tie it at 20. A kill by Kayla Schrunk gave the Vikings the lead for good, and a hitting error by Scotus eventually gave Lakeview the set.
The Vikings maintained that momentum and led early in the fourth set, but the Shamrocks bounced back to get it tied at 21. Lakeview then rattled off four straight points, winning the set on a kill by Payton Rosendahl.
Held said he had some simple advice for his team heading into the fifth set.
“I told the girls that we had to play better,” he said. “Lakeview was forcing us into making errors, and we had to stop that.”
The fifth set was tied at 5 before Scotus ran off four straight points to take a lead it wouldn’t surrender. Lakeview drew close at 13-12, but a Vikings hitting error and a kill by the Shamrocks’ Maeghan Pieper ended it.
“I’m proud of the mental toughness our team showed,” Lakeview coach K.C. Belitz said. “Some teams would have decided they had enough after falling behind by as much as we did.”
Belitz, in his eighth season as head coach, said his team took the close loss hard.
“This one hurts bad, as bad as any I can remember,” the coach said. “This team had a goal to reach state, and we came up just a little short.”
The Shamrocks were led by senior Kim Stutzman, who pounded 22 kills. Pieper had 13 kills, Sarah Schumacher added 12 and setter Morgan Thorson chipped in 42 assists.
“It was stressful, because I think they got in our heads,” Stutzman said. “But I think we had more energy at the end.”
Rosendahl paced Lakeview with 16 kills while Schrunk had 12. Setter Jordan Vogt had 26 assists for the Vikings (23-9).
The Shamrocks (23-6) advance to a district final Thursday night against C1-3 subdistrict champion Lincoln Christian. The site for that match will be determined Wednesday.
“We have to play better to keep going,” Held said. “But it’s a big positive to win this match.”
Columbus Lakeview (23-9)........15 18 25 25 12
Columbus Scotus (23-6).............25 25 22 21 15
CL (kills-aces-blocks): Kayla Schrunk 12-0-2, Payton Rosendahl 16-1-4, Reghan Holmberg 2-0-0, Jordee Korte 1-0-1, Morgan Iverson 5-1-1.
CS: Morgan Thorson 0-1-0, Sarah Schumacher 12-3-1, Kim Stutzman 22-2-3, Maeghan Pieper 13-0-3, Jessica Buhman 5-0-5, Hannah Thomazin 1-1-0, Courtney Labenz 0-1-0.
Set assists: CL 29 (Jordan Vogt 26, Rosendahl 1, Holmberg 1, Iverson 1). CS 46 (Thorson 42, Thomazin 2, Stutzman 1, Labenz 1).
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