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.”