Trojans clinch trip to state volleyball tourney
KEARNEY, Neb. — “We’ve got calmness, yes we do! We’ve got calmness...
“How about you?!”
Coach Margo Kent likely wasn’t sure how to answer that as her Cambridge Trojans fell behind in Saturday’s D1-7 district volleyball title match.
“We blew a five-point lead in that first set,” Kent said about a 24-19 opening lead which never became 25.
Powerful Central Valley (25-6) built its own big lead of 17-10 during the second set.
Still railing 24-23, the Trojans were just 0ne point from being down 2-0 and close to missing Class D-1 state.
Yet these Trojans simply did what Kent has said all season:
They don’t get rattled.
They don’t get snippy.
They support each other no matter the trouble.
“A lot of times in volleyball, you have some drama but this team has had none of that,” Kent said. “They just go out there and play what is a great sport.”
Oh how the Trojans played during those next two-plus sets.
They caught their opponents, 24-24, in that second set on senior Jenna Ebbers’ kill just inside the back row.
Senior Rylee Cross’ super dig set up the Ebbers point, and senior Cali Gunderson’s kill off a double block made it 25-24.
It still wasn’t easy as two more ties arrived at 25-25 and 26-26.
However, the Cougars flubbed four hits to put Cambridge ahead again — and Ebbers’ next kill finished a 28-26 win.
“That was big to win the second set,” Kent said with a comment that could never be more true. “Then we wanted to make a statement in that second set.”
How about a 25-9 punctuation point?
Junior Korynn Clason was pounding most of those statement points as she unleashed another awesome 26-kill barrage on these Cougars.
Central Valley put up one more great fight in the fourth set — yet there really was no stopping Cambridge at this point.
The Trojans maintained leads of three or four points on clutch hits from senior Olivia Taylor, Ebbers, Clason and Cross.
Gunderson joined Cross for a big stuff block to make it 16-12.
The Cougars scratched within 19-18 but could never get closer as Cambridge closed this 25-21 state tourney-clinching win.
“People thought we might struggle a bit early because we had some seniors who hadn’t played a lot of varsity coming in this year,” Clason remarked on the post-game radio interview amid a Trojan celebration. “But we never did. They just stepped in and we took off right from the start. We kept the pedal to the medal all the way.”
The Trojans now move on to Lincoln for Thursday’s D-1 state quarterfinal match against No. 2-seed Johnson-Brock (29-3 record).
Start time is 7:30 p.m. with Cambridge looking to climb much higher than its No. 7 state seed.
Complete pairings are featured below.
Cambridge leaders during the D1-7 district title match:
KILLS — Korynn Clason 26, Ebbers 7, Taylor 6, Ebbers 5, Gunderson 5.
ACE SERVES — Cali Gunderson 2, Kaelie Tomlin 2, Cross, Clason.
ACE BLOCKS — Korynn Clason 3, T omlin 2, Cross.
DIGS: Jenna Ebbers 21, Clason 17, Cross 14, Tåylor 13.
ASSISTS: Kaelie Tomlin 46.
Wolves lose finale
KEARNEY, Neb. — BDS 3, Maywood-Hayes Center 0: A year after taking third at the state tournament, top-ranked BDS punched its ticket back to Lincoln with a 25-16, 25-12, 25-12 win in Kearney.
“Getting to Lincoln was a new experience last year,” BDS coach Kari Jo Alfs said. “But this year we will return with some more confidence. We know the ins and outs of the state tournament now, and our girls will react better to that I think.”
Last year’s trip was the Eagles’ first since 2013, when they were runners-up.
The Eagles were led by Jadyn Kleinschmidt in the district final, as she tallied 12 kills and five ace serves.
Maywood-Hayes Center finished 17-11 following a big subdistrict comeback win over Wauneta-Palisade that earned its district finals shot at Kearney High School.
Sophomore Jaycee Widener drilled 12 kills to lead the Wolves while junior Avery Johnson smashed five.
They also teamed for five stuff blocks with Widener dropping three on BDS.
Junior Jaycee Lapp served three aces and made 16 digs.
Senior Paige Wood added 11 digs.