Riley Hoerath of Fremont High tips the ball over the defense of Kenne Comstock of South Sioux City during a match earlier this season. The Tigers lost 25-16, 25-16, 25-19 to Bellevue West on Wednesday night in the A-3 district tournament at Omaha Marian High School. 

OMAHA — After dropping the first set to Bellevue West on Wednesday night in the A-3 district tournament, Fremont High School seized the momentum early in the second game.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they couldn’t build on that momentum and the Thunderbirds rallied to notch a 25-16, 25-16, 25-19 win an opening-round game at Omaha Marian High School.

“It seemed like when we were able to get good passes, the hitters would have a hitting error or the set might not be where it was needed,” Fremont coach Cindy Kostek said. “It just didn’t seem like we could get all of the parts working together.”

A trio of Fremont seniors helped the Tigers break to an early lead in the second game. Chelsi Judds-Krenk’s block and kills by Lexi Proskovec and Riley Hoerath put FHS up 4-1.

After West closed to 4-2, another FHS senior, Taylor Pemberton, started a 5-1 run with a kill. Sophomore Hannah Wilson added a kill while Hoerath added a block and a kill to help FHS extended the advantage to 9-3.

Junior Kaia Hada delivered one of her match-high 12 kills to spark a 12-3 run by the Thunderbirds that put them up 15-12. The Tigers narrowed the deficit to 18-16 on a Hannah Wilson kill, but West closed the set on a 7-0 run.

“They (Bellevue West) were really good defensively,” Kostek said. “They picked up a lot of our (hits). They kept making plays and we needed to terminate, but then we’d make an error.”

The Tigers trailed 5-4 in the third game before Hannah Wilson tied it with a kill. West went up 15-10, but the Tigers narrowed the gap to 17-15 on a Judds-Krenk kill. The Thunderbirds closed the match on a Jayna Hope ace.

Hannah Wilson had six kills, 12 digs and six assists. Hoerath had three kills and four blocks while Judds-Krenk had two kills and two blocks.

Pemberton had nine assists while Sarah Wilson had 10 digs. Proskovec contributed six kills and Elise Estudillo had the team’s lone ace.

It was the final FHS volleyball appearance for seven seniors: Jaylen Semrad, Madi Moore, Pemberton, Haley Broeker, Proskovec, Judds-Krenk and Hoerath.

“Those girls have played a lot of volleyball and have done some really good things,” Kostek said. “They’ve been around it a long time.”

The Tigers finish the season 14-20 — a six-game win improvement over last season’s mark of 8-24.

“I think we are doing some good things as a program,” Kostek said, noting the expansion of her youth volleyball club. “We are encouraged that we are taking steps in the right direction.”

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