HEBRON – It’s on to the district final for the Timberwolves, who definitely have their eye on the prize … a trip to the state volleyball tournament.
Exeter-Milligan accomplished a 3-0 sweep of a tough Bruning-Davenport-Shickley team in the subdistrict at Hebron, 25-21, 25-23, 25-18.
Coach Darcy White said her T-Wolves will face either Johnson Brock or Pawnee City in a district final at a location to be chosen by the two schools. That winner is off to the state tourney in Grand Island and Hastings.
The evening opened with a 4-2 BDS lead in game one, but not for long.
Successive kills by Malinda Hall, then two from Megan Zwickl and back-to-back kills from Jackie Luzum had E-M in front 11-10.
The Eagles had no answer for Luzum, a senior outside who frustrated BDS with a match-high 17 kills.
BDS called timeout with the T-Wolves threatening to run away at 15-12, but when play resumed Amber Pribyl and Hall combined on a block to make it 16-12. An ace serve from Madison Horne had E-M up 20-17 and a Zwickl kill made it 21-17.
Jennifer Pribyl brought the house down with an apparent kill that powered off the floor and banked into the basketball hoop, but the officials ruled a do-over was in order.
Point 22 for E-M came on a rally opportunity that was saved thanks only to a terrific dig save by libero Erica Yound.
Luzum had two kills in a row to take the T-Wolves to set point, 24-21, then ended it herself with E-M’s 25th point.
Game two saw the T-Wolves go up early, only to have the Eagles battle back to take a 13-11 lead themselves. A kill from Jennifer Pribyl got E-M back on track and the T-Wolves went up 18-14 on a kill by Amber Pribyl. Luzum got point 19 with a kill that would never have happened without a circus dig save of the rally by Zwickl, 19-14.
BDS being a quality team, it was no surprise the Eagles came storming back to within on at 19-18 T-Wolves.
Enter Zwickl with a kill, then two from Amber Pribyl and E-M’s ship was once again upright leading 23-19. Set point came on a double-hit call against the Eagles, who were mounting another threat before Jennifer Pribyl delivered a clutch kill to put her team up 2-0 in the match.
The third set was anticlimactic compared to the first two as E-M took charge early. It was all going their way, a statement proven by a T-Wolf point on what looked like a sure winner for BDS. The rocket shot was saved via a miraculous stab of Horne’s fist that shot the ball back to the net where setter Taylor Erdkamp jabbed at the ball in desperation, sending it over and down in two and posting E-M to a 15-6 advantage.
The score mounted to 21-15 on a thundering kill from Hall, but once again back came the Eagles to 22-16, forcing White to call a timeout to settle her pack of Wolves.
Not to worry. When play resumed Zwickl calmly stacked a tip kill atop a service ace. That brought it to match point, which kills leader Luzum appropriately provided.
Young had 16 digs from her libero position to which Horne added 11. Luzum and Zwickl had eight each.
Erdkamp recorded 43 set assists with Zwickl and Horne at four and three ace serves. Yound added two.
Backing Luzum’s 17 kills were Zwickl, Hall, Amber Pribyl and Jennifer Pribyl with eight, six, five and five.
“We had a pretty decent game plan and the girls executed it well,” said White. She added that her team was able to serve aggressively and pass well … both skills from which everything begins.
“It makes life a lot easier,” she said, adding that Erdkamp “did an awesome job of distributing the ball. Our hitters had their heads in the game” from start to finish.
The T-Wolves improved to 26-4 with the victory. White's squad will play Pawnee City for a district title and a trip to state.