WEEPING WATER – Elmwood-Murdock and Nebraska City Lourdes set the stage for a potential dramatic volleyball match with edge-of-the-seat action early Monday night.
NCL tore up that script with wider scoring margins the rest of the evening.
Second-seeded Nebraska City Lourdes stopped third-seeded Elmwood-Murdock 25-23, 25-14, 25-15 in the semifinals of the Subdistrict C2-1 Tournament. Action took place in front of a large crowd at Weeping Water Activities Center.
Elmwood-Murdock head coach Nichole Justesen said she had been encouraged by the team’s performance in game one. E-M and NCL were tied 12 times and went through six lead changes in the stanza. Ainsley Esser’s kill after a long rally on game point gave the school the early edge in the match.
“I thought for sure we were going to go four or five (games),” Justesen said. “We started off really strong and played well early on. They went on a little bit of a serving run after that, and I think our confidence got shaken when that happened.”
Nebraska City Lourdes changed the complexion of the match with a quick start to game two. The team won the first seven points and built the lead to 15-7 on Natalie Wright’s ace. Elaina Madison followed that with an ace block and hard kill on the next two points, and her ace block later in the game stretched the gap to 21-11.
Elmwood-Murdock attempted a comeback in game three. Sydney Kunz drilled aces on two of the first three points, and consecutive kills by Kunz and Nicole Meyer helped the Knights go ahead 11-10.
Nebraska City Lourdes put the match away after that. Jacey Kreifels delivered three aces during a serving run that gave the team an 18-11 edge. An ace by Esser kept the gap at 21-13, and Elizabeth Baumert sealed the contest with a kill on match point.
NCL improved to 17-15 with the victory. The team saw its season come to a close later Monday night against top-seeded Palmyra. The Panthers won the subdistrict title match 25-14, 25-17, 25-12.
Meyer and Lauren Justesen each made nine kills for Elmwood-Murdock. Meyer added two aces and two digs and Justesen posted 11 digs, one assist and 24 serve receptions. Kunz chipped in two kills, two aces, six digs, 16 assists and two serve receptions.
Nicole Wenzel made two kills and two aces and Katelyn Vogler collected four digs and ten serve receptions. Elyse Drake tallied two aces, eight digs and five serve receptions, Paetyn Florell had two kills and two digs and Chloe Hosier generated six digs, one assist and five serve receptions.
Faith Offner made two digs and four serve receptions and Sydney Anderson delivered five digs and four serve receptions. Brianna Scattergood added one dig for the Knights.
Meyer, Kunz, Drake, Offner, Scattergood and Kylee Synovec were the team’s six seniors. Justesen said all of the Knights made positive impacts on the squad throughout the fall.
“The seniors provided great leadership for us,” Justesen said. “All six of them saw time on the court this year, and they gave us a lot in terms of support from the bench as well. They wanted their teammates to succeed and they were willing to step up and play in every type of role they were asked to fill for us. Our seniors were awesome.”