DAVID CITY — Wisner-Pilger shook off the effects of a subdistrict tournament loss to upset Mead on Saturday in the C2-6 district championship match at David City High.
Rachel Otten led three Gators in double figures for kills with 16 as Wisner-Pilger downed the Raiders 25-20, 24-26, 25-18, 25-23.
The loss ends Mead’s season at 23-2. The Raiders’ only other loss came to Class C-1’s Malcolm in the ECNC Tournament.
Mead coach Keshia Havelka said a breakdown in fundamentals cost the Raiders.
“Unfortunately, for the first time this season our serve receive passing was inconsistent through the entire match,” she said. “We never got our hitters in a place to be successful.”
The Gators had 17 aces, including five apiece from Adi Meyers and Lindsey Kneifl.
“Wisner was also very steady in their pass, allowing their hitters to be successful in sideout percentage,” Havelka said. “We would continuously allow Wisner long service runs before we would get a sideout.”
The Gators used a five-point run to open a 21-13 lead in the third set and went on to go up 2-1 in the match.
The Raiders broke to a 13-7 lead in the fourth set. The Gators closed to 20-16 before three-straight Mead errors made it a one-point match.
“I think at that moment, we lost confidence in our play,” Havelka said. “The stress of the season ending started to creep in the (players’) heads and we couldn’t make the plays we needed to make.”
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A service error by the Gators allowed the Raiders to close to 24-23, but a W-P kill ended the match.
“Our defense couldn’t pick up shots that we had been digging all year, which was hard to watch,” Havelka said. “Our hitters struggled to find the court against Wisner’s big block and great tip coverage.”
Aspin Waterman had 12 kills and Karrin Jindra added 10 for the Gators, who hit .308 for the match. Meyer finished with 27 set assists and eight digs.
Becca Halbmaier led the Raiders with 12 kills, 10 digs and two aces. Abby Miller added eight kills, 12 digs and two aces. Emily Quinn had 33 set assists and eight digs. Delaney Patocka had a team-best 22 digs.
Seniors Miller and Patocka helped the Raiders to 74 wins during their time in the program.
“They had great careers,” Havelka said. “We’ll return five starters next year and hopefully we can look forward to another successful season.”
The Gators, who lost to Ponca in subdistrict tournament play, will now face second-seeded Superior at 5:30 Thursday night at Lincoln Southwest in the C-2 state tournament.
Other matches include: Hastings St. Cecilia, the top seed, against Arcadia/Loup City at 1:30 p.m., fourth-seeded Lutheran High Northeast vs. Wahoo Neumann at 3:30 and third-seeded Grand Island Central Catholic vs. Summerland at 7:30.
The St. Cecilia/Arcadia LC winner will meet the LHNE/Neumann winner at 1 Friday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The other semifinal is scheduled for 3 p.m. The championship match is set for 1 Saturday afternoon at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.