GRAND ISLAND -- Hastings St. Cecilia kept pounding and pounding and pounding.
Putting together short strings of points here and there, and a long string or two, too, the Class C2 No. 1-ranked Bluehawks swept away No. 7-ranked Wood River 25-22, 25-13, 25-13 Friday night in the C2-5 district volleyball final at Grand Island Senior High.
“One thing the girls and I really work on is that no team scores more than three points in row, and we struggled with that,” Wood River coach Peg Heise said.
The Bluehawks (25-3) had four such streaks. Leading 11-9 in the second set, St. Cecilia went on a seven-point run, followed by a four-point burst to lead 20-10.
The third set got away when the Bluehawks peeled off a 10-point streak.
“We just struggled passing, even some of our free-ball passes. Then, when we did get a good pass, it was like we weren’t quite on tonight,” Heise said.
The Eagles (25-7) committed 20 attack errors and seven service errors, while St. Cecilia had 13 attack errors and four serving errors.
“We missed a few serves ... but we’re serving about 95, 96 percent on the year, so if we miss three or four serves that seems like a lot,” St. Cecilia coach Alan VanCura said.
The errors decided the first set as the Bluehawks had only four total errors to the Eagles’ nine.
“They just don’t make very many mistakes. That doesn’t mean they’re always clobbering the ball, they just don’t make very many mistakes and it’s hard to compete with that,” Heise said.
St. Cecilia used its wide variety of talent to amass 41 kills to just 20 for Wood River. Morgan Nikkila scored 11 kills and Olivia Thomas finished with 10.
Josie Prevette finished with four blocks, while Arika Kitten and Courtney McCauley had two ace serves apiece.
Hope Lambrecht paced Wood River with nine kills, while Alexis Burghardt had five.
Wood River came into the district final feeling good about its wild-card chances and anticipates getting the call today (Saturday) to join the state tournament field. For that reason, Heise told her players to relax and not worry about the score.
“Gain something from it and try to get better,” she said she told her team. “We need to play at a high level and we need to know we can compete at a high level. There were times we did and times we didn’t, but those times we did is what we really need to key in on.”
To a certain extent, the Eagles accomplished that mission.
“Regardless of the score, there were long rallies that we won, there were balls that we dug. It doesn’t mean we converted it to a kill, but at times I thought we did a good job keeping the ball in play,” Heise said.
St. Cecilia 3, Wood River 0
WOOD RIVER (25-7).....................22 13 13
ST. CECILIA (25-3).......................25 25 25
KILLS -- Hope Lambrecht 9, Alexis Burghardt 5, Kelly Boshart 4, Connor Fischer 3, Kelsey Bahe 3, Madeline Luehr 2, Julia Rojas 1.
ASSISTS -- Bahe 20, Fischer 2, Burghardt 1.
BLOCKS (4) -- Lambrecht 2, Fischer 1, Boshart 1, Luehr 1.
ACE SERVES -- Burghardt 1, Lambrecht 1, Bahe 1.
KILLS -- Morgan Nikkila 11, Olivia Thomas 10, Arika Kitten 7, Josie Prevette 6, Claire Hamburger 4, Courtney McCauley 3.
ASSISTS -- Hamburger 32, Thomas 2, Kitten 1, McCauley 1.
BLOCKS (7) -- Prevette 4, Kitten 2, Hamburger 1, McCauley 1, Thomas 1.
ACE SERVES -- Kitten 2, McCauley 2, Nikkila 1, Alyssa Schropp 1.