GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Wood River was serving Hartington Cedar Catholic off the court for much of the first two sets of a Class C-2 first-round state tournament match Thursday at Northwest High School.
But the Trojans put things together towards the end of the second set and went on to a 20-25, 25-22, 25-11, 25-13 victory over the Eagles.
The win moves Hartington CC into a state semifinal match against No. 1 Hastings St. Cecilia on Friday at Grand Island Senior High.
Wood River (25-8) had 10 ace serves in the match. Nine of those came in the opening two sets.
Hartington CC coach Adam Kuntz credited libero Kallie Leise with rebounding following the first two sets.
“My libero was really struggling something fierce in those first two sets,” Kuntz said. “I pulled her and said, 'You have to get yourself together.' I let her set there until the end of that second set. Between sets two and three I pulled her out and said, 'You've really been passing well all year. Your the base of our serve receive,' and she really bounced back. I was very proud of her mental toughness there.”
The Trojans (29-5) were led by senior middle blocker Alexis Steffen with 29 kills and six ace blocks.
“She has really worked hard,” Kuntz said. “Volleyball is her passion. She does a great job. The last year and a half she's worked incredibly hard on her blocking and she's been very disciplined in going up, pressing and staying out of the net.”
Junior Hope Lambrecht led Wood River with 12 kills while Connor Fischer had nine.
Wood River coach Peg Heise said she was proud of how her team played.
“We missed six serves and we still win the set,” Heise said. “The second set I told the girls, 'You just have to keep serving aggressive. We can't hold back. Regardless of if you're erring, you have to serve aggressive.'
“I thought that second set was there for us too.”
Wood River (25-8)...................................25 22 11 13
Hartington CC (29-5)................................20 25 25 25
WR (Kills-aces-blocks): Alexis Burghardt 6-5-0, Connor Fischer 9-0-2, Kelsey Bahe 4-0-0, Kelly Boshart 5-0-0, Madison DeVore 0-1-0, Hope Lambrecht 12-2-0, Kaitly Hermann 0-1-0, Julia Rojas 1-0-0, Madeline Luehr 1-0-0.
HCC: Karlyssa Noecker 6-0-0, Emily Schrempp 1-0-0, Siera Becker 5-0-2, Magdalena Steffen 0-0-2, Alexis Steffen 20-6-0, Erin Hochstein 1-0-0, Elizabeth Steffen 0-0-0, Kallie Leise 0-1-0, Morgan Steffen 0-1-0.
Set assists: WR 28 (Bahe 26). HCC 39 (Schrempp 34).