Papillion-La Vista South won, but Omaha Marian took something positive from its most recent volleyball match against the top-ranked Titans.
The second-ranked Crusaders won a set Tuesday night against Papio South — the first time a Nebraska team has accomplished that this season — but the host Titans prevailed 25-23, 25-13, 21-25, 25-19. Papio South moved to 30-1 while Marian fell to 29-3, with all three losses coming to the Titans.
“I think we earned some respect tonight,” Crusaders coach Rochelle Rohlfs said. “This is exactly what our kids needed to motivate them for what’s coming up.”
The match was played in front of a near-capacity crowd on “Dig Pink” night, a promotion to help raise breast cancer awareness. Many in the stands wore pink T-shirts, as did the Papio South players.
“It was a great atmosphere,” Titans coach Gwen Egbert said. “It was a really competitive match and I thought both teams played well.”
It also was the final home dual for seven Titan seniors, including the big three — twin sisters Kadie and Amber Rolfzen and Kelly Hunter. The trio has helped Papio South win two straight Class A crowns and will move on to play next season at Nebraska.
Marian held an early four-point lead in the first set but the Titans battled back to take a 23-20 lead. The Crusaders ran off three straight points to tie it but Papio South prevailed after consecutive kills by Amber and Kadie Rolfzen.
The Titans rode that momentum into the second set, sprinting to an 11-4 lead. Marian never got closer than five points and Papio South took a 2-0 advantage in the match when a shot by the Crusaders’ Lexi Elman went long.
Marian trailed by three points early in the third set and another Titans sweep appeared imminent. But the Crusaders fought back to tie the set 17-17 on a kill by Sydney O’Shaughnessy, then took the lead for good on a kill by Maggie Heim.
The lead became 24-19 after a Titan net violation, but a pair of kills by Kadie Rolfzen gave Papio South some life. A kill by Heim ended it as the Titans lost a set for the fourth time this season — and the first time against Marian.
“We needed to get it back together,” Egbert said. “I thought our defense really stepped up in the fourth set.”
The Crusaders threatened to send the match to the limit, grabbing a 16-11 lead in the fourth set after a block by Annie Wolfe. But the Titans went on a 9-1 run and took a 20-17 advantage on a kill by Kadie Rolfzen.
Papio South wouldn’t relinquish that lead, and eventually captured the match on another kill by Kadie Rolfzen.
“We competed in three out of four sets,” Rohlfs said. “We know it’s there for us, and I think this will help prepare us for what’s down the road.”
A fourth match between the squads might be down the road next week at the Metro Conference tournament. And a fifth is a possibility if the teams meet in the state tournament, as they’ve done the past four years.
“They’re a good team,” Egbert said. “I think we learned a lesson tonight.”
Amber Rolfzen led the Titans with 20 kills while her sister Kadie added 13. Hunter had 35 assists, five kills and three aces.
Elman led the Crusaders with 16 kills while Heim added 13 kills and 15 assists.
Omaha Marian (29-3) .................. 23 13 25 19
At Papillion-La Vista South (30-1) .................. 25 25 21 25
OM (kills-aces-blocks): Sydney O’Shaughnessy 7-2-1, Morgan Sullivan 6-2-2, Anna Krettek 3-0-2, Lexi Elman 16-2-0, Annie Wolfe 4-0-1, Maggie Heim 13-1-0.
PLVS: Olivia Schonewise 7-0-0, Alyssa Gibbs 0-2-0, Kelly Hunter 5-3-1, Amber Rolfzen 20-2-1, Adyson Goodnight 1-0-1, Katie Kurtz 6-0-4, Raegan LeGrand 0-1-0, Kadie Rolfzen 13-0-2.
Set assists: OM 35 (O’Shaughnessy 18, Heim 15, Elman 2); PLVS 40 (Hunter 35, LeGrand 2, K. Rolfzen 2, Schonewise 1).
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