The C1-11 Volleyball Sub-District played out just as the brackets were set up at North Platte High School. Ogallala came in as the No. 1 seed on Tuesday at 24-10 and their opponent was the No. 2-seed Gothenburg Lady Swedes at 22-6.
The Lady Indians defeated Cozad 25-14, 25-10 and 25-14, in the first semifinal of the evening, while Gothenburg downed Chase County, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22, 21-25 and 16-14 to advance to the final. In the finals it was Ogallala winning 25-13, 27-25 and 25-15, advancing to the C1-6 District Final on Friday against Chadron at a site to be determined.
“That’s the third time we’ve played them this year,” Ogallala coach Steve Morgan said. “They took us to three [in the Southwest Conference Tournament] and the last times we got them in two and three.
“They’ve had an amazing season and big time hitters that will be back — so they’ll be nothing but better.”
The second set was crucial for Gothenburg. Ogallala held the lead for most of the set, but the Lady Swedes would make a late run.
Ogallala raced out to a 7-2 lead on two kills apiece from Kendall Schroer and Ciara Voycheske, a single kill by Jenna Paloucek and Shayna Shaw recorded a service ace.
Gothenburg closed to within one when Tiani Reeves put down a pair of kills, Jacey Wiggins had a kill and a service ace by Aryn Meisinger.
Later in the set, Reeves recorded a kill to get within one at 14-13, but two Paloucek kills and a Gothenburg hitting error gave the Lady Indians a 17-13 lead.
Ogallala had set point at 24-21 on a Schroer kill, but the Lady Swedes went on a 4-0 run to have a set-point at 25-24 on a Reeves stuff block. But Ogallala put together the final run of the set with kills from Schroer and the final one coming from Sidney Mell.
Schroer came up big in the set with six kills and two stuff blocks. And because of an illness was questionable coming into sub-district play.
“She did a great job,” said Morgan. “I didn’t even know if we were going to play her. I asked her before the game and she said she wanted to play and she had some power yet.”
The second set was a tough one for the Lady Swedes, who had gone five sets earlier in the day with Chase County.
“My assistant coach and I were just talking — if we just could have pulled that one out,” said Gothenburg coach Mary Clark of the second set. “It would have meant a lot.
“Also going five sets with Chase [County]. If we just could have taken care of business — we were just kind of off that first game. It would have been nicer to have fresher legs.
“Credit Ogallala. They’re a great team. They’re coached very, very well — obviously, and we wish them the best of luck.”
Ogallala breezed through the opening set 25-13. The Lady Indians led 14-9 when a six-point run all but ended the set.
Schroer started the run with a kill and would add two more before it ended. Voycheske also added a pair of kills and Morgan Reed ended it with a kill. The two teams traded points the rest of the way, as Ogallala took a 1-0 lead.
Schroer helped the Lady Indians off to the good start by recording eight kills and a stuff block in set one.
Gothenburg struggled at times with their passing.
“We told our girls when we play our attack game we’re pretty tough to beat, but the passes need to be there,” said Clark. “We were kind of hot and cold on those. With a good team like Ogallala, every point counts.”
The Lady Indians were just as opportunistic in set three, as the points would come in bunches. For Morgan, the season was more satisfying because many thought this would be an off year for the Lady Indians.
“At the beginning of the season we heard all too many times this would not be a good year for Ogallala,” Morgan said. “I think our girls turned that into a lot of passion and a lot of positives as a team and that’s what I’ve been looking for as a coach all year.
“I’m more proud of them as the team they are. The win was great, and it always will be, but it’s just the team they put together. They did a lot of it by themselves — they’re a great bunch.”
No statistics were available for Gothenburg following the match.
Ogallala statistics: Kendall Schroer – 18 kills, 3 ace blks; Sidney Mell – 8 kills, 14 digs, 3 ace blks, 1 ace serve; Ciara Voycheske – 6 kills, 6 digs; Paloucek – 6 kills, 3 digs, 2 ace blks, 3 ace serves; Morgan Reed – 7 kills, 5 digs, 1 ace blk; Carlie Kay – 14 digs; Brooke Robertson – 41 set assts, 6 digs, 1 service ace; Shayna Shaw – 3 ace serves.