LINCOLN — Fremont Bergan found itself in a position Thursday at the state volleyball tournament that the Lady Knights never experienced during their 2018 Class D-1 state championship run.
The Lady Knights, who didn’t drop a set at state last season, lost the opening game to Overton, but rebounded to win the next three to finish off a 24-26, 25-16, 25-22, 25-20 victory at Lincoln Southeast.
The victory propels Bergan into a semifinal match at 9 Friday morning against top-seeded Pleasanton, 31-1, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Bulldogs defeated Central Valley 25-19, 25-16, 24-26, 25-12 on Thursday.
The Lady Knights utilized their block to advance. Hannah Frost led the way with five solo blocks. Lauren Baker, Emma Walz and Kennedy Bacon had four each. Bergan finished with 18 blocks compared to one for the Eagles.
A hitting error by Kenzie Scheele of Overton put Bergan up 21-15 in the opening set. Scheele, though, hit back-to-back kills to start a 7-0 run by the Eagles.
Baker’s kill and a hitting error by Overton gave the Lady Knights set point, but Scheele’s kill and back-to-back aces by junior Haley Fleischman lifted the Eagles to the first-game win.
Bergan fell behind 4-2 in the second set, but a block by Walz and a Frost kill helped tie it at 5. The Lady Knights seized control with a 7-2 run that included a Baker kill.
Overton got as close as 20-15, but Bergan closed with a 5-1 scoring run.
The Eagles scored the first three points of the third set. They kept that advantage at 10-7 on a Rachel Ecklund kill.
Frost floored a kill to force the first tie of the third set at 10. Neither team built more than a two-point lead for the next several minutes. A Bergan unforced error gave the Eagles a 21-20 lead, but Frost gave the Lady Knights a spark.
The left-hander recorded three-straight kills to put Bergan up 24-21. Fleischman staved off one set point with a kill, but DeGroff ended it with a kill.
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Ecklund’s kill helped the Eagles tie the fourth set at 12, but Frost and Bacon had kills during a 5-0 run that put the Lady Knights in control.
A Fleischman kill followed by an Ecklund block pulled the Eagles to within 22-20, but DeGroff and Frost hit consecutive kills before DeGroff ended it with an ace.
DeGroff finished with 17 kills, four ace serves and 21 digs. Baker had 10 kills and 22 digs. Frost added nine kills and Walz contributed three.
Kaia McIntyre had 38 set assists and 17 digs as Bergan improves to 29-11.
Fleischman recorded 19 kills for the Eagles. Ecklund added 15 while Anna Brennan had 40 assists, 20 digs and five kills. Alexandra Altwine registered eight kills.
Overton’s season ends at 28-5.
Pleasanton 3, Central Valley 1: Junior Katlyn Linder had 23 kills, 18 digs and three blocks in leading Pleasanton past Central Valley.
Linder got plenty of help. Junior Bella Paitz had 17 kills and junior Kaci Pierce added 13 for the Bulldogs (31-1), who also got 57 set assists from junior Natalie Siegel.
Sophomore Neleigh Poss led Central Valley (24-8) with 14 kills and 18 digs.
Diller-Odell 3, HTRS 0: Class D-1’s No. 1 Diller-Odell stormed to a 28-18, 28-26, 25-11 victory over Humboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer on Thursday.
Mackenzie Vitosh led the way with 17 kills while Emily Swanson contributed 12. Karli Heidemann added 11.
Lauren Nanninga had eight for HTRS.