GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — In its fourth trip to the state volleyball tournament, Millard West finally broke through Thursday against Lincoln Southwest.
The fourth-ranked Wildcats won their first-ever match at state, sweeping the fifth-ranked Silver Hawks 25-21, 25-17, 25-20 at the Heartland Events Center. The win lifts Millard West (29-5) into a 9 a.m. semifinal Friday against No. 1 Papillion-La Vista South, while Lincoln Southwest ends the season 25-8.
“It was fun out there today,” Wildcats coach Erin Byrd said. “We had a game plan, and the girls carried it out.”
Millard West played well Thursday despite a late-season swoon in which it suffered three of its five losses.
“We went through that rough patch, but we played well at districts and played well today,” Byrd said. “We’re back on the right track.”
The Wildcats led most of the way in the first set, though Southwest fought off two match points on aces by freshman Allie Davis. After a Millard West timeout, Davis sailed her next serve long to give the set to the Wildcats.
The second set was tied at 16 but Millard West finished strong, going on a 9-1 run to end it. The final point came on a kill by sophomore Kira Shapiro, and the Wildcats rode that momentum into the third set.
The match was tied at 17 but Millard West once again closed with a flourish, going on a 5-1 run to take 22-18 advantage. A kill by Shapiro and a kill and a block by Alexis Anderson provided the final three points in the win.
“This season was a little bit of a roller coaster for us,” Southwest coach Mary Schropfer said. “Millard West played us tough today, so kudos to them.”
The Wildcats won despite a strong performance by Silver Hawks junior middle hitter Marysa Wilkinson. The 6-foot Creighton recruit pounded a match-high 17 kills and also had two blocks.
“She really played well for us,” Schropfer said. “But it just wasn’t enough.”
Kamesha Young paced Millard West with 12 kills while three players — Kira Shapiro, Casey Shapiro and Anderson — had seven apiece. Senior Cassidy Yong dished out 38 assists and had four kills.
Lincoln SW (25-8)...........................21 17 20
Millard West (29-5).........................25 25 25
LSW (kills-aces-blocks): Mikayla Bax 0-1-0, Aftyn Johnson 1-0-0, Malory Dahl 10-2-0, Madison Egger 2-1-0, Marysa Wilkinson 17-1-2, Kaylyn Fern 1-0-0, Allie Davis 4-3-2.
MW: Sydney Stockfleth 1-0-0, Morgan Rademacher 1-0-0, Casey Shapiro 7-0-1, Kamesha Young 12-0-2, Alexis Anderson 7-0-1, Kira Shapiro 7-0-0, Erin Sosnowchik 6-0-0, Cassidy Yong 4-0-0.
Set assists: LSW 31 (Egger 31); MW 38 (Yong 38).
Contact the writer:
402-444-1350, email@example.com; twitter.com/MPattersonOWH