GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Friday was a special day for Omaha Marian volleyball coach Rochelle Rohlfs for two reasons — a victory and a birthday.
Her Crusaders reached the Class A final by sweeping Lincoln Southeast in a semifinal. That match didn’t start until after the Marian student section had serenaded her by singing “Happy Birthday.”
“It was nice to hear that,” Rohlfs said. “And they didn’t mention my age.”
Papio programming error
Mistakes are usually few in the official program, but two players for Papillion-La Vista — Priscilla O’Dowd and Sara Kneifl — wore different uniform numbers than the ones listed.
O’Dowd (No. 12, not No. 13) should have gotten credit for having the final kill Thursday in the Monarchs’ first-round win over Millard North. She had 13 kills in the semifinal loss Friday against Millard West.
Kneifl (No. 13, not No. 12) had 12 assists against the Wildcats.
It’s not easy being pink
The one standout in the Marian student section was the pink pig, situated in the front row.
Inside the pig costume was senior Sydney Ferrara, who proved to be popular not only with her fellow Crusaders but with the opposing student section as well.
During a timeout in the Marian-Lincoln Southeast semifinal, the Southeast students yelled, “Red Rover! Red Rover! Send the pig right over!”
Ferrara said she wasn’t about to enter enemy territory.
“The principal said I shouldn’t go over there anyway,” she said. “I went over part of the way and stopped there.”
Century mark in sight?
The notion of racking up 100 kills in a single state tournament isn’t far-fetched for Sterling’s Jordan Lempka.
Entering the state tournament with 558 kills this season, Lempka hasn’t slowed her pace. The 6-foot-2 senior middle blocker had 34 kills in a four-set first-round win over Mead on Thursday and finished with 32 kills in a five-set loss to Giltner in Friday’s Class D-2 state tournament semifinals at Grand Island Senior High.
Sterling coach Stan Karr said these are the types of performances he has grown to expect from Lempka, who plans to play college volleyball at Midland Lutheran. Against the No. 2-rated Hornets, Lempka also had nine blocks and five ace serves.
“I don’t take her for granted because I know where we’d be if she wasn’t on our team,” Karr said of Lempka. “Jordan wants the ball, she gets it done and the bigger the games, the better she does.”
No libero, no problem
In an era of volleyball where specialization is commonplace, Elkhorn South has been conspicuous at the Class B state tournament by its absence a player wearing the libero jersey.
Storm coach Briana Ritter said the reason for her team not having a designated defensive specialist is simple.
“We had a libero at one point, but we kind of hold it sacred,” Ritter said. “We say that if you’re not going to give us what we think is deserving of a libero jersey, we don’t give them out.”