COLUMBUS — The Scottsbluff volleyball team wrapped up its long and grueling regular-season schedule by placing seventh at the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday in Columbus.
After dropping two highly contested setbacks to Hastings and Kearney, Scottsbluff ended the eight-team tournament on a high note with a convincing 25-9, 25-10 sweep of Lexington.
Scottsbluff coach Megan Burda said the Bearcats’ win over Lexington was a nice capper on the long day.
“It was something we needed,” Burda said. “We played two hard matches right before that and they both just didn’t go our way in the end. The girls stayed aggressive and played well. We saw some great things today. Hopefully, we can take those with us into districts.”
The Bearcats enjoyed a balanced hitting attack throughout the tournament as kills were evenly spread out among five hitters.
In the win over Lexington, Makayla Castro led the way with seven kills. Chesney Walker and Brayden Auer put down five kills each, while Alexus Pinedo totaled four and Kiley Guerue added two. Scottsbluff senior setter Connor Ehler dished out 20 assists and Lauren Miller recorded 15 digs to lead the Bearcats defensively. Miller and Guerue each fired in three aces, while Castro and Ehler both had two. Walker finished with nine digs.
Scottsbluff opened the day with a 28-26, 25-14 setback against Hastings. Auer powered down eight kills to lead the Bearcats in hitting. Pinedo finished with six, while Walker and Castro each added four. Ehler handed out 19 assists and Miller had 11 digs. Auer also led Scottsbluff with two blocks. Pinedo and Guerue both tallied seven digs and Castro had five.
In its second match, Scottsbluff fell to Class A Kearney 25-16, 25-21. Ehler recorded 13 assists. Walker, Guerue and Pinedo all put down four kills, while Castro and Auer both added two. Defensively for the Bearcats, Auer finished with a pair of blocks and Miller totaled 14 digs. Ehler and Castro each added five digs, Walker had four digs, while Pinedo, Guerue and Auer all finished with three digs.
The Bearcats finished the regular season with a record of 10-24.
Scottsbluff will open the Class B, District 6 Tournament against Gering on Tuesday at Perkins County High School in Grant. First serve is scheduled for 5 p.m. The winner will advance into the semifinal round against top seeded Sidney at 7:30 p.m. The other semifinal contest will feature Alliance taking on McCook at 6:15 p.m. The championship match will be played on Thursday at 6 p.m.
Tuesday’s match between the Bearcats and Bulldogs will be their sixth meeting of the season. Gering owns a 3-2 edge.
“We’ve gone back and forth with them all season, so I’m sure it will be very competitive,” Burda said. “I like how we’re playing. The girls are more consistent and they’re playing at a high level.”