GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Different class, same result.
Humphrey captured its second consecutive state volleyball championship with a 25-19, 25-23, 25-19 win over Cedar Valley in the Class D-2 final at the Heartland Events Center. The Bulldogs (33-2) won the D-1 title last year.
Coach Gary Bender's squad rode another strong performance from senior Alyssa Frauendorfer as Humphrey kept its state tourney record perfect — two championships in two trips. Frauendorfer pounded a match-high 23 kills.
“Great player, great student, great kid,” Bender said. “Alyssa did another nice job, but it was a real team effort to win this match.”
After Humphrey won the first set, the match turned in the second set. Cedar Valley grabbed a 22-14 lead and appeared on the verge of tying the match, but Humphrey went on an 11-1 run to win the set and regain the momentum.
“Our team never gets too high or too low,” Bender said. “We keep a pretty even keel, and I think that helped us come back.”
Trailing by eight points, the Bulldogs began their comeback with a Frauendorfer kill. Freshman Tarrin Beller added a kill and the Mavericks netted two shots, making the score 22-18.
Kills by Brenna Bender and Haley Roelle drew Humphrey within two, but Cedar Valley's Brooke Behnk delivered a kill to make it 23-20. The Bulldogs then won the next five points and the set, capping the rally on a kill by Beller.
“It was a tough rotation for us (during the rally) and we couldn't get out of it,” Mavericks coach Todd Beck said. “We needed someone to put the ball down and we couldn't do it.”
Beck said he saw something else that turned the tide.
“We started playing not to lose, instead of playing to win,” Beck said. “We just couldn't get the momentum back.”
Despite that momentum swing, Cedar Valley managed to hang tough in the third set. The Mavericks closed within 19-18 but Humphrey went on a 6-1 run, ending the match with Frauendorfer's 23rd kill.
“Give them credit, because they competed in that third set,” Bender said. “We knew they weren't going to give up.”
Frauendorfer, a Wayne State recruit, said it was a challenge for the Bulldogs to repeat. They graduated seven seniors from last year's 33-2 state championship team.
“At the beginning of the year, we never thought we'd be here,” she said. “And to be the team with the target on our back as a state champion was tough.”
Frauendorfer also had kind words for freshman Beller, who had seven kills and five blocks.
“She'll be a lot better than me,” the senior said. “She had an awesome match today.”
Cedar Valley was led by senior Skyler Erickson, who had 16 kills and two blocks. But it wasn't enough to prevent the Bulldogs from heading home with a second state title.
“Two in a row, that's a crazy run,” Bender said. “The girls kept believing and we were able to get it done.”
Cedar Valley (26-7)..................................19 23 19
Humphrey (33-2).....................................25 25 25
CV (kills-aces-blocks): Brooke Behnk 4-1-2, Jayden Erickson 2-3-1, Lindsay Lammers 0-2-1, Skyler Erickson 16-0-2, Ashlynn Wood 0-0-1, Kara Donovan 5-2-1.
H: Tarrin Beller 7-1-5, Alyssa Frauendorfer 23-1-5, Haley Roelle 5-3-1, Mikaela Classen 0-1-0, Brenna Bender 3-0-2, Ellie Geyer 2-0-0, Kellie Klassen 1-0-0.
Set assists: CV 27 (Lammers 27); H 34 (Geyer 34).
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