FREMONT, Neb. — Columbus Scotus did what it does best Friday night — earned a trip to the state volleyball tournament.
The Class C-1 Shamrocks nailed down their 27th tourney berth with a 25-15, 25-18, 25-13 win over Omaha Concordia in the C1-2 District championship at Fremont Middle School. Scotus, the defending state champion, will seek its 16th title when the tournament begins Thursday in Grand Island, Neb.
“I was pretty nervous at the start,” longtime coach John Petersen said. “But I thought we played a really solid match tonight.”
Petersen said his team hadn't played well in a subdistrict match earlier in the week against Wahoo Neumann — something no coach wants to see in the postseason.
“We won, but I was pretty disappointed in our effort,” he said. “We just kind of looked discombobulated out there.”
After defeating Wahoo in the subdistrict final Tuesday night, the Shamrocks appeared to be hitting on all cylinders against the Mustangs. Concordia led early in the first set and captured the first point of the second set, but it was a dominating performance by Scotus the rest of the way.
“They're a very disciplined team and you have to limit your mistakes to stay with them,” Mustangs coach Kiley Hansen said. “I thought we were kind of tentative and we didn't do enough to make things happen.”
A 4-1 first-set lead for Concordia disappeared when the Shamrocks went on a 9-1 run. That advantage grew to double digits on a kill by freshman Maeghan Pieper and Scotus eventually won the match on an ace by senior setter Kara Moore.
The Mustangs tried to stay close in the second set and trailed just 12-10 after a shot by the Shamrocks' Alyssa Foltz went long. But kills by Carley Foltz and Payton Chohon got Scotus rolling again and another kill by Carley Foltz later handed the second set to the Shamrocks.
Scotus raced to a 6-0 lead in the third set and never surrendered that advantage, finishing off the Mustangs on match point with an ace by Moore.
“We did a nice job defensively,” Petersen said. “And I thought we swung at it really well.”
Lauran Hellbusch paced the 23-3 Shamrocks with 14 kills while Alyssa Foltz had 13 and Chohon 10. Pieper had six kills and Moore chipped in 41 assists.
Rebecca Mueller led Concordia with six kills while Megan Wickey had five. Brooke Sorenson and Taylor Wickey had four apiece and Elizabeth Rasmussen added 13 assists.
The loss spelled the end of the season for the 19-13 Mustangs, who were seeking their third consecutive state tournament berth. But Hansen said she hoped the setback would be a learning experience for her young team, which has seven freshmen on the roster.
“You've got to be mentally tough every point,” she said. “Scotus taught us that lesson tonight.”
Om. Concordia (19-13)........................15 18 13
At Columbus Scotus (23-3).................25 25 25
OC (kills-aces-blocks): Taylor Wickey 4-2-2, Jennifer Jones 1-0-0, Megan Wickey 5-0-1, Elizabeth Rasmussen 2-0-1, Brooke Sorenson 4-0-0, Brooke Pickette 0-0-1, Rebecca Mueller 6-0-1.
CS: Kara Moore 2-3-0, Lauran Hellbusch 14-0-0, Alyssa Foltz 13-1-0, Carley Foltz 3-3-0, Emily Dosch 0-1-0, Maeghan Pieper 6-0-2, Payton Chohon 10-1-1, Allison Bos 0-3-0.
Set assists: OC 17 (Rasmussen 13, Jordan Gibbs 3, Bailey Paskevic 1); CS 47 (Moore 41, C. Foltz 4, A. Foltz 1, Dosch 1).
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