WEEPING WATER – Elmwood-Murdock athletes played in a championship environment this week during their run to the subdistrict tournament title match.
The Knights traveled to Weeping Water Activities Center on Monday and Tuesday for the Subdistrict C2-1 Tournament. Third-seeded Elmwood-Murdock squared off with Palmyra in the first round and faced Nebraska City Lourdes the following night.
Elmwood-Murdock 3, Palmyra 0
The Knights began their tournament with a 25-22, 26-24, 25-21 victory over second-seeded Palmyra. Elmwood-Murdock posted a .213 team hitting percentage and knocked home 41 kills. The squad also scooped up 64 digs and 62 serve receptions.
Brenna Schmidt and Lauren Justesen both had big nights for Elmwood-Murdock in multiple categories. Schmidt slammed 18 kills on 35 swings for a .400 hitting percentage, and she made six solo and three assisted blocks at the net. Schmidt also went 12-of-13 serving with one ace.
Justesen registered 14 kills, 18 assists and five serve receptions. She went 10-of-10 at the service line with a pair of aces.
Sydney Anderson, Chloe Hosier, Nicole Wenzel and Paetyn Florell all posted one ace for the team. Anderson went 13-of-14 at the line, Wenzel finished 12-of-13 and Hosier went 11-of-12. Florell produced a 7-of-9 performance in the category.
Florell posted four kills, three digs and one assist, and Hosier generated 32 assists and four digs for the team. Wenzel connected on three kills and made five digs, and Anderson pitched in two kills, 12 digs and 18 serve receptions.
Lexi Bacon delivered 35 serve receptions and 12 digs in the back row. Katelyn Vogler helped the team with seven digs, one assist and two serve receptions.
Nebraska City Lourdes 3, Elmwood-Murdock 1
Top-seeded Nebraska City Lourdes withstood a challenge from Elmwood-Murdock in the title match. NCL defeated the Knights 25-14, 23-25, 25-21, 25-11 in front of a large crowd.
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Nebraska City Lourdes dominated action in the opening game. The team burst out to a 12-3 lead after Libby Baumert delivered a serving run that included a pair of aces. Three consecutive aces from Ivye Meyer made the score 18-7, and Meyer’s kill late in the game gave the team a 23-14 lead.
Elmwood-Murdock rebounded with a victory in game two. An ace block from Schmidt put E-M ahead 15-11, and Florell’s kill several points later kept the lead at 19-16.
Nebraska City Lourdes rallied to tie things at 23-23 after Gina McGowen and Elaina Madison both dropped in kills. Elmwood-Murdock went ahead 24-23 when NCL committed a hitting error on the next point. Justesen then delivered an attack that sank to an open spot in the middle of the court.
Game three was just as tight. E-M rallied from an early 6-2 deficit to knot the score at 9-9, and the teams remained tied at 21-21 late in the game. Nebraska City Lourdes claimed the final four points to go ahead in the match.
NCL kept momentum on its side in the final stanza. The team created a 12-5 lead with seven straight points, and a long serving run from Meyer increased the gap to 23-9. McGowen clinched the victory with a hard kill on match point.
Schmidt ended the evening with 14 kills and two solo blocks for Elmwood-Murdock. Justesen registered ten kills, one ace, 13 digs, four assists and 23 serve receptions, and Hosier posted 26 assists and 12 digs for the team. Hosier also led E-M’s serving attack with three aces.
Anderson helped the Knights with 11 digs, nine serve receptions, two kills and one ace. Bacon made 43 serve receptions, 25 digs and one assist, and Wenzel pocketed four kills and five digs in the match.
Florell ended the evening with two kills and one ace, and Vogler made four serve receptions, two digs and one ace. Abby Petersen made one dig and Sela Rikli was successful on both of her serve attempts.
Elmwood-Murdock finished its season 11-22. Anderson, Vanessa Callaway, Hosier, Justesen, Vogler and Wenzel were the team’s six seniors.
Lauren Justesen reached a pair of career milestones this season. She finished as the school’s all-time leader in career digs with 1,243. Hanna Justesen had held the previous top mark of 1,078 digs. Lauren Justesen also ended her four years at E-M with 1,005 kills.
Schmidt became Elmwood-Murdock’s all-time leader in single-season blocks. She finished the campaign with 98 total blocks. She had 52 solo and 46 assisted blocks during the year.