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LOUISVILLE – Hustle plays helped Louisville hand Freeman a conference loss on the volleyball court Thursday night.

The Lions used effort and enthusiasm to stop Freeman 25-15, 25-15, 25-20 in the LHS gym. Louisville kept several long rallies alive with diving saves and ended the night with 45 digs. The team also won many points with intelligent attacks against Freeman’s defense.

LHS head coach Megan Barnes said the Lions have made hustle one of the cornerstone values of their program. She said that helped Louisville defeat an East Central Nebraska Conference opponent for the 14th time this year.

“We always talk about the importance of going all-out every time we play,” Barnes said. “Every point is important for us, and the girls have done a really nice job this whole year of giving great effort. They showed up tonight with the same approach. I think that made a big difference for us.”

Barnes said the Lions had extra motivation because it was the final home match for the program’s five seniors. Jade Biesterfeld, Faye Jacobsen, Cassidy Niemoth, Maddy Nolte and Skyler Pollock began the evening by singing the national anthem together for the crowd. They then combined for 29 kills, 34 digs and 12 aces in the match.

“I’m so proud of our seniors,” Barnes said. “They came in here tonight with a purpose, because they wanted to make sure they did well in their last home match. They played really well tonight and made it pretty special for everyone.”

Louisville (19-10) dominated Freeman (9-17) in each of the first two games. The Lions raced out to a 9-1 lead in game one and kept the Falcons from coming back. Consecutive kills from Niemoth, McKenzie Norris and Biesterfeld put the Lions ahead 22-11.

The Lions went up 14-4 in game two after Jacobsen slammed home four early kills. Aces from Biesterfeld and Jacobsen later in the game sealed the outcome.

Freeman rose to the challenge for most of game three. The Falcons led 11-10 after an ace from Valeria Marelli, and Natalie Boyer’s kill kept the visitors within 18-15. Jacobsen and Niemoth responded with back-to-back kills that helped Louisville sweep the match.

Jacobsen ended the night with 13 kills, ten digs and one ace block. Biesterfeld registered four kills, seven digs, one ace block and one ace, and Niemoth made ten kills, seven digs and two aces.

Lea Kalkowski dished out 33 assists and made five digs, and Pollock ended the match with ten digs and four aces. Nolte knocked home two kills and Norris made six digs, one assist and one kill. Brooke Smith added one kill for the team.

Louisville will begin postseason action Monday night in the Subdistrict C1-2 Tournament. The second-seeded Lions will travel to Platteview for tournament matches.

Louisville will open the event with a 7:30 p.m. match against third-seeded Boys Town (4-21). Top-seeded Ashland-Greenwood (16-11) will play fourth-seeded Conestoga (4-28) at 6 p.m. Monday. The winners will play for the subdistrict championship at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29.

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