SIDNEY — All season long the Sidney volleyball team carried with it the goal of repeating as district champions.
The Red Raiders accomplished that goal by capturing the championship of the Class B, District 8 Tournament on Tuesday at the Cabela’s Athletic Facility in Sidney.
Sidney turned back Gering 25-18, 25-23, 25-22 in the final.
"I was really proud of the ladies. They kept their focus all evening and knew any of the three district teams they faced was going to be tough," Sidney coach Sarah Wilson said. "We knew it was going to be some competitive ball and personally I was really proud of my team. They stepped up when they needed to and they got it done."
The win sends Sidney into the sub-state round on Saturday where they will most likely be on the road. The eight winners in the sub-state round will then advance to the state tournament in Grand Island.
Wilson said she was happy to see her squad get the job done and extend its season.
"They had that in their mind and that was definitely one of their goals at the start of the season," she said. "It’s something we talked about all season, so I think they’re satisfied tonight that they got that done."
Seniors Abbi Porter and Cody Rowley powered Sidney in the title match. Porter finished with a team-high 15 kills and five blocks, while Rowley added 14 kills and a pair of blocks. Rowley earned a double-double as she also distributed 18 set assists. Emily Mahr added 15 assists.
Leading the Raiders defensively was Maddi Porter with 23 digs. Sarah Mahr had 17 digs and served a team-high five aces.
In the final, Sidney had to overcome a valiant effort by a Gering team that had to battle through a thrilling five-set victory over Scottsbluff in the semifinals. The Bulldogs gave it everything they had, but just came up a little short.
"To be able to come back and win that Scottsbluff match after being down two sets was great," Gering coach Stevie Gable said. "In the Sidney match we played tough, but we just were never the aggressors. In a big district match like that you definitely have to be the aggressors. I thought they came out and played a pretty decent match. I’m proud of their efforts."
In the final, Katie O’Boyle recorded eight kills; Kelsea Prieels had 13 assists; Kaylee Spreier had four blocks; and Savannah Walker had 11 digs.
Despite the loss, Gering still qualified for the sub-state round on Saturday at GINW.
The Bulldogs certainly had their work cut out for them just to reach the title match as Scottsbluff won the opening two sets of their semifinal encounter. However, Gering stormed back to claim the next three sets. Trailing 13-12 late in the deciding set, the Bulldogs swept the next three points to complete the rally.
Walker finished that match with 15 kills; Spreier had 11 kills and 14 digs; O’Boyle had seven blocks and four ace serves; and Prieels had 17 assists.
Scottsbluff coach Kenna Hubbard lauded her young squad’s performance.
"It was a great high school match between two competitive teams," Hubbard said. "I was very pleased with how the girls came out and played."
Chesney Walker and Makayla Castro both put down 18 kills each for the Bearcats. Kyra Willats handed out 41 set assists. Also for Scottsbluff, SteaVen Becker had three blocks, Castro served five aces, and Shalee Roseberry had three aces.
"Our goal no matter win or lose was to come out and play the best game of volleyball we’ve played this season," Hubbard said. "As a coach, I can be proud because I felt they did that."
Sidney advanced into the final with a 25-18, 25-23, 25-17 sweep of Alliance in the first semifinal.
Abbi Porter again led the Raiders’ offensive attack with 16 kills. She also had a team-high four blocks. Rowley added seven kills, three aces, and 18 assists, while Savanna Rosenbaum had eight kills.
Also for Sidney, Maddi Porter had 24 digs and four aces, Sarah Mahr had four aces and 12 digs, and Emily Mahr had 19 assists.
Kennedy Cyza paced Alliance in hitting with 10 kills. Caitlyn Tritle added five kills. Emily Jensen dished out 14 assists to go with six digs. Kami Felker led the Bulldogs defensively with 10 digs. Madison Hiemstra finished with seven digs.
Sidney was playing in its third straight district final.
Bayard falls in title match
OGALLALA — The Bayard volleyball team lost to Dundy County-Stratton on Tuesday 25-18, 25-18, 25-16 in the championship match of the Class C-2, Sub-district 12 Tournament.
Dundy County-Stratton advances to the C2-6 final.