After state tournament runs, both the Ewing and Chambers/Wheeler Central volleyball teams earned several all-Niobrara Valley Conference honors when the lists were released Tuesday.
Ewing's Miranda Summers, Ashley Koenig, Tiana Thramer and Sidney Stallbaum, along with CWC's Taylor Peter and Tessa Metschke, were named first team all NVC. Elgin Public/Pope John seniors Allyson Wemhoff and Anna Heilhecker, Clearwater/Orchard senior JoCee Johnston and Elkhorn Valley senior Amber Miller also were named to the first team.
Earning second team honers included EPPJ senior Kaylee Martinsen, OC senior Katie Stearns, EV senior Hannah Ollendick, Neligh-Oakdale seniors Kristen Snodgrass and Haley Kerkman, St. Mary's Abby Everitt, Stuart's Reaghan Engel, Ewing's Jaidyn Schindler and Brenna Wagner and CWC's Ryann Haburchak, Morgan Ramsey and Jordan Laetsch.
Honorable mention nods went to Santee's Hannah Sheridan, Niobrara/Verdigre's Megan Cook, St. Mary's Abby Hedstrom, Stuart's Lexi Schroder, Ewst Holt's Peyton Randolph, Brandi Heller and Lindsey Jelinek, N-O junior Amanda Dietz, EPPJ senior Grace Rittscher and junior Haley Zegers, OC sophomore Avery Cheatum, EV senior Sierra Rystrom and junior Olivia Nall and Ewing's Summer Schroeder.
Ewing High School won the Class D-2 Volleyball Sportsmanship Award for the second straight year.
The award was presented to Hailey Rotherham and Principal Greg Appleby at the NSAA Volleyball Championships on Saturday. The award is given to the school that exhibits class and candor while cheering on it's team.
The Nebraska Coaches Association gives the sportsmanship awards in partnership with the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA), Nebraska Athletic Directors Association, and presenting partner, the Nebraska National Guard.
The Ewing and Bruning-Davenport/Shickley volleyball teams proved why they were the No. 1 and 2 ranked teams in Class D2, as the two squads battled for five sets to determine the NSAA Class D2 state champion.
When the dust had settled, it was the Lady Eagles who emerged victorious to capture their first state title in program history.
The Lady Tigers finished runner-up for the second consecutive year.
“We knew coming in it was going to be a battle and it was a battle until the end,” stated Ewing mentor Suz Funk. “It was a good, hard-fought match.”
Ewing got off to a great start to open the match. Four kills by Tiana Thramer in the first six points gave the Lady Tigers a 5-1 advantage.
After falling behind 13-7, BDS used an 9-4 run to cut the deficit to one.
Ewing pulled away with an 8-4 run to win the set, 25-21, and ended the set on an Ashley Koenig kill.
“It was huge and a great momentum builder,” Funk commented. “If only we could have kept that going, but serving and passing caught us. It didn’t work the way we wanted.”
The Lady Eagles started the second set with a 5-0 run to claim a 6-1 lead, thanks to three Jadyn Kleinschmidt kills.
Ewing rallied with a 7-2 run to knot the set at eight all. There were seven more ties in the set before BDS took the set, 26-24.
It was all Lady Eagles in the third set, cruising to a 25-12 set win.
“I told them to let it go,” Funk recalled. “I told them to forget about it and start all over again. We had to get rid of that one, stay focused and it took a lot of heart to come back and do what they did. I’m very proud of them.”
Both teams jockeyed for momentum early in the fourth set. Leading 9-7, the Lady Tigers scored 10 of the next 13 points to extend its lead.
BDS drew as close as four at 20-16, but Ewing forced a decisive fifth set thanks to a kill and ace by Sidney Stallbaum and a kill by Koenig to win the set, 25-18.
The crowd at the Devaney Sports Center was treated to an instant classic in the fifth set.
Seven different ties occurred during the set and numerous rally attempts by Ewing kept its title hopes alive.
Trailing 14-11, the orange and black scored the next three points on a kills and blocks by Koenig and Stallbaum, tying the match at 14.
“I was so proud of the girls for the battle and fight they put into it,” Funk said. “I’m really proud of them.”
Following a block by Emilie Schardt and Macy Kamler, Stallbaum tied the set with a kill at 15.
A BDS kill by Kamler and attack error by the Lady Eagles, knotted the match at 16.
A Kleinschmidt kill and attack error by Ewing, ended the match and secured a state title for the Lady Eagles.
Kamler led the Lady Eagles with 21 kills, four assists, 15 digs and two blocks. Kleinschmidt tallied 18 kills and 21 digs, Regan Alfs accounted for 11 kills, three aces, 19 assists, eight digs and two blocks and Jordan Bolte had 25 assists.
The Lady Tigers were paced by Koenig’s 20 kills, two aces, 10 digs and one block. Thramer contributed 21 kills and three blocks, Stallbaum recorded 12 kills, an ace, five blocks and 12 digs, Miranda Summers added 52 assists, three kills, three blocks and 15 digs, Jaidyn Schindler collected 15 digs and Brenna Wagner tallied five kills, two aces and 14 digs.
Ewing ends its season at 31-3. The Lady Tigers graduate seniors Miranda Summers and Jaidyn Schindler.
“It’s a family thing and they really have become a family,” Funk noted. “The seniors’ leadership on the floor was great and they did an outstanding job.”
Despite losing its top setter and libero, Ewing expects to be back in Lincoln next fall.
“We are still just one school going against three, but we’re going to keep battling,” Funk concluded. “We’re going to do the best we can to keep them going.”
The Ewing volleyball team defeated Falls City Sacred Heart in three sets Thursday in the opening round of the NSAA Class D2 state championship.
Check out all of our photos from Thursday's match!
After district championship wins, the Ewing and Chambers/Wheeler Central volleyball teams found out their fate in the Class D2 state volleyball tournament.
The opening round takes place Thursday at Lincoln Southeast High School.
Ewing (29-2) earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament and faces FCSH (22-11) at 1:30 p.m.
The sixth-seeded CWC (25-7) opens with Mullen (27-3) at 7:30 p.m.
Winners of those matches play at Pinnacle Bank Arena's north court Friday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
The third-place match is scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Lincoln Northeast High School and the championship match is at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Devaney Center.
It was the perfect night for an upset for the Chambers/Wheeler Central volleyball team, as the Lady Renegades defeated top seeded Ewing, in three sets, Friday at the Niobrara Valley Conference tournament championship match at Niobrara.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game and we knew we were the underdog,” stated CWC senior Jordan Laetsch. “We didn’t really care, we just came out and practiced like we do every single day and it was just like a regular day of practice.”
An early run by CWC allowed the Lady Renegades to capture the first set, 25-16.
Leading by one, CWC went on an 18-10 run to take the first set. The first set loss was only the fifth set the Lady Tigers had lost all season.
“It was very important,” Laetsch continued on winning the first set for a confidence booster. “We knew as long as we kept our mistakes down and only made no more than two in-a-row, we were going to have it and we did have it.”
The second set was an absolute dog fight between the two squads. The set saw 18 ties and six different lead changes.
The Lady Renegades had set-point after a Taylor Jean Peter kill, but Ewing rattled off three unanswered points thanks to a CWC error and kills by Ashley Koenig and Sidney Stallbaum to take a 25-24 lead.
Trailing 26-25, the Lady Renegades scored the final three points and took the set, 28-26, on a block by Morgan Ramsey and Tessa Metschke.
“The momentum of the game helped us and we knew we could do it,” Jean Peters noted. “We knew we had to fight together as a team and the momentum came to us when we were attacking. It helped and we knew what we could do since had been playing together for so long. We knew what we could do to finish the game.”
Ewing gained the early momentum after scoring 14 of the first 20 points in the third set.
CWC chipped away at the lead and tied the set at 21 following a Rachel Dierks kill and claimed its first lead of the set on a Ewing attack error.
Dierks set the Lady Renegades up with match-point following a kill, but the Lady Tigers rallied and ended a 3-0 run with an ace by Brenna Wagner to give Ewing a 25-24 advantage.
After trading leads and ties, CWC completed the upset with a kill by Ramsey and an ace by Ryann Haburchak.
“In practice we do 20-20 and we know we can come back because we do it in practice,” Jean Peters said. “We had to fight and knew we could do it.”
The Lady Tigers were led by Wagner’s six kills and one ace. Koenig tallied four kills, an ace and a block, Stallbaum collected four kills and two blocks, Summer Schroeder added two aces and Miranda Summers pitched in three kills and a block.
Jean Peters led the way for the Lady Renegades with 12 kills and two blocks. Laetsch recorded two kills, a block and an ace, Dierks accounted for three kills, Ramsey contributed two kills, two blocks and two aces, Metschke accumulated three kills and a block and Haburchak added three aces.
Ewing and CWC play at the Class D2-5 sub-district at West Holt Monday.
Ewing (26-2) faces Stuart at 5 p.m., while Chambers/Wheeler Central (23-6) takes on O’Neill St. Mary’s at 6:15 p.m.
The winners of those matches play for the sub-district title at 7:30 p.m. Monday.
Despite a valiant effort, the Elgin Public/Pope John volleyball team fell to Ewing in three sets, 25-21, 25-14 and 25-17, in the Niobrara Valley Conference tournament semifinals Tuesday at West Holt.
"I was really happy with the way the girls came out," said EPPJ coach Tina Thiele-Blecher. "Ewing is a great team and they have guns coming at all times, from everywhere. Our defense didn't quite adjust as much as I'd hope."
Both squads fought tooth and nail in the opening set, as there was seven ties in the first set. The Lady Wolfpack went on a 4-0 run to tie the match at 21, but the Lady Tigers ended the set with a 4-0 run after Ashley Koenig's kill.
"We came out in that first set on fire and ready to go," Thiele-Blecher recalled. "We played them so tight in the first set, that we wanted it too bad in the second set and could not get anything going our way."
Ewing opened the second set with a 7-1 run and cruised to a nine-point set win.
"At this point and time of the season, everybody is going to bring their A game," said Ewing coach Suz Funk. "You have to be prepared for every point. We knew they were going to get their shots, we just needed to stay focused and handle it the best we could."
Following a Kayce Kallhoff kill that tied the third set at six, the orange and black went on a 13-5 run to claim a 19-11 advantage.
Koenig scored the final three kills for Ewing to win the set, and the match.
Haley Zegers led the Lady Wolfpack with eight kills and six digs. Kaylee Martinsen recorded three kills, an ace, four digs and a block, Allyson Wemhoff tallied three kills, five digs and 10 assists, Kallhoff accounted for four kills and six digs, Harlie Bode added three blocks and Anna Heilhecker pitched in 16 digs.
The Lady Tigers used a balanced attack to seal a spot in the NVC title match. Four different players recorded double-digits points led by Brenna Wagner's 10 kills, four blocks and three aces. Tiana Thramer had nine kills, three blocks and an ace, Sidney Stallbaum accumulated seven kills, two aces and two blocks and Koenig contributed eight kills, a block and an ace.
"We did a better job in the serve and pass game," Funk said. "When you serve aggressively and pass well, you have a lot more options. When we pass the ball, we have a lot of options to use. We kept their blockers going from pin-to-pin and kept them out of their system. It worked for us tonight. Kudos to the girls, they did a great job passing. They were focused and knew what they needed to do."
Ewing (26-1) plays Chambers/Wheeler Central in the NVC championship match Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Niobrara.
"We need to stay focused," Funk added. "We'll watch game film, fine tune on that and watch them (CWC) play. They are a great ball club, so we need to go to school and try to learn on them."
Elgin Public/Pope John (18-11) faces county rival Elkhorn Valley Friday in the NVC third-place match at 6:15 p.m. at Niobrara.
"Tonight is still going to help us for next week (for sub-districts) and next week is a little more important than this week," Thiele-Blecher concluded. "The NVC is tough and I told them to be proud of being here tonight. There's nine other teams practicing tonight instead of playing here. I'm proud for them even being here tonight."
The Niobrara Valley Conference tournament kicked off with a bang Monday night as Clearwater/Orchard, O'Neill St. Mary's and Ewing took the floor in the opening night of the conference tournament.
OC opened with a three-set triumph over O'Neill St. Mary's, 25-21, 25-20 and 25-23.
"It was a good start to the conference tournament," stated OC coach Sierra Summers. "I am proud of how the girls came out with of fire and a will to win."
The Lady Cyclones jumped out to a quick 9-1 lead thanks to three Katie Stearns' aces, along with three kills and two blocks by JoCee Johnston.
At 21-17, Julian Tuttle recorded her 1,000th career assist on a Stearns' kill.
"It feels really good," Tuttle said. "I've worked really hard for it and I know it's not a huge achievement for a good setter, but getting it within two years I'd say is pretty cool."
After dropping the first point in the second set, OC rattled off 10 unanswered points. Taelyn Switzer recorded four aces during the run.
Trailing by 14, the Lady Cardinals went on a 17-3 run to cut the deficit to two.
OC scored five of the final seven points and ended set with a Johnston kill.
Despite winning the last set for the sweep, the Lady Cyclones were plagued with errors. The green and black had to overcome 17 errors to win the last set and the match.
Tuttle collected 26 assists and an ace in the match. Johnston recorded a match-high 14 kills and three blocks, Stearns tallied six kills, three aces and two blocks and Switzer accounted for four aces.
"We did a really good job of talking in the first game," Tuttle noted. "We all stayed low and we knew that St. Mary's knew our weaknesses because we had played them so many times. We covered well and hit well. That really helped."
Sybil Scofield led the Lady Cardinals with eight kills, two blocks and two aces. Jadyn Eby had three kills and four aces, Abby Hedstrom added two kills, Katie Pongratz pitched in a block and an ace and Abby Everitt pitched in a kill and an ace.
OC gave the top-seeded Ewing everything they could handle, but fell in three-sets to end the "We were struggling with our passing," spoke Ewing coach Suz Funk. "We always tell them we can't use three attacks if we're struggling with out passing. OC is a good team and they took us out of system a lot of times. They were blocking well. We needed to hit the shots and the angles we practiced. They're a great team."
The Lady Cyclones punched the host Lady Tigers in the mouth to start the first set with quick 4-1 lead thanks to two kills and a block by Johnston.
"We did a really good job of not being intimidated," Tuttle said. "We knew Ewing is a really good team and they've been (good) the last couple of years. We knew it was going to be a really hard game and I'm really proud for us sticking through it so well."
Trailing by one, the Lady Tigers went on a 9-2 run in the first. Four different players recorded a kill during the run.
An 11-6 run by OC cut Ewing's lead to one, but the Lady Tigers ended the set with two kills by Ashley Koenig.
After Switzer gave the Lady Cyclones a 3-2 lead with back-to-back aces in the second set, Ewing ended the set on a 23-9 run to win the set.
"We talked about picking up the tempo of the game and running a quicker offense, so we could get them out of system and make their blockers run side-to-side," Funk said. "That helped us get some open shots."
After playing five hard-fought sets Monday night, OC ran out of steam and committed 13 errors in a 25-14 set loss to end the match.
"We came out and played really tough," Summers said. "The girls really worked hard to stay with them and continued to do what they could to earn every point. I am so proud of the effort that was put out on the floor and the way that they fought."
Johnston led the Lady Cyclones with nine kills and two blocks. Switzer added three aces and two kills, Stearns collected three kills and an ace and Tuttle contributed 18 assists.
The Lady Tigers were led by Brenna Wagner's eight kills, four aces and four blocks. Sidney Stallbaum tallied 10 kills, an ace and a block, Koenig recorded seven kills and an ace, Summer Schroeder accounted for three blocks and two aces and Tiana Thramer had four blocks and three kills.
Ewing (28-1) advances to the NVC semifinals and faces Elgin Public/Pope John Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. at West Holt.
"We need to stay focused, practice and take one game at a time," Funk commented. "The NVC is a tough conference and everyone is going to bring their A game. Everybody wants to go on, so we have to prepare for every game."
Clearwater/Orchard (18-12) and O'Neill St. Mary's (4-23) bow out of the NVC tournament and participate in the sub-district tourneys next week.
"In the postseason we should be OK," Tuttle concluded. "Our sub-district is doable if we play like we played tonight. If we play like we played tonight, we should be able to get out of it. We just have to hope for the best."
Against one of the strongest fields in the state, the West Holt boys cross country team placed third as a team at Friday's Class D state cross country race.
The Huskies scored 79 teams points to take third. Norfolk Catholic was second with 78 points and Malcom won the team title with a score of 46.
Aaron Kraus (18:14.3) placed 19th, Jordan Tasler (18:16) was 22nd, Ben Thiele (18:25.5) took 32nd, Cole Laible (18:40.3) finished 44th, Joe Albrecht (19:52) claimed 105th and Garrison Hansen was 106th (19:52.6).
Several O'Neill seniors were recognized before Monday night's volleyball match between the Lady Eagles and Elkhorn Valley.
Seniors from the girls golf and volleyball team were honored before the varsity match.
Check out our photo gallery of the senior girls with their families.