SIDNEY — The undefeated Leyton volleyball team shrugged off a few early jitters to roll into the championship match of the Class D-2, Sub-district 12 Tournament by disposing of Hay Springs 25-13, 25-15, 25-15 on Monday night in Sidney.
Leyton, the top seed and defending tournament champion, improved to 29-0 on the season with the sweep. The Warriors will take on South Platte in tonight’s championship match at 7 p.m. South Platte moved into the final by beating Sioux County 25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-13 in Monday’s other semifinal match.
Tonight’s match will mark the third meeting of the season between the Warriors and Blue Knights. Leyton swept the previous two matches without dropping a set. The winner will move into the D2-6 final on Thursday.
Like it has all season long, Leyton took advantage of a nice balance all around the court against Hay Springs, who beat Banner County 25-21, 25-7, 25-21 in the first round. The Warriors were glad to get the first postseason match out of the way.
“We were a little nervous before the game so we started off shaky and were a bit unorganized,” Leyton senior Grace Harvey said. “But, we worked through it.”
Leyton coach Jodi Craig thought her squad was too inconsistent and a bit sluggish at times throughout the match. However, she was pleased with how the Warriors managed to fight their way through.
“We came out a little sluggish tonight, but were able to get back in the game by serving aggressively and attacking the ball,” Craig said. “We were pretty inconsistent and struggled with serve receive, so we will need to be more consistent in executing throughout the match [tonight].”
Harvey and Katy Ernest led Leyton’s serving attack. Ernest served 19 points and five aces, while Harvey finished with 19 points and four aces. Also serving strong for the Warriors were Kelsey Waite with 13 points and Carly Rushman with 10.
Kassandra Harris put down nine kills to power Leyton in hitting. The Warriors also enjoyed a balanced effort at the net as Harvey followed with five kills, while Waite, Rachael Ernest and Kaitlyn Berner all added four each.
Katy Ernest directed the Warrior offense beautifully by handing out 22 set assists.
Defensively, Harvey totaled a team-high 10 digs. Waite, Rushman and Rachael Ernest each had five digs.
In the blocking department, Rachael Ernest led the way with five total blocks. Waite added three and Harvey finished with two.
Harvey said it’s nice to be back in position to win a second straight sub-district crown, but the Warriors will need to be on top of their game against a scrappy South Platte team.
“It feels really great to know we are getting one step closer to the state tournament,” she said. “South Platte has great hustle and I believe they will put up a good fight.”