Every time it seemed Class D No. 3 Stuart would get some momentum, Class D No. 1 O'Neill St. Mary's responded. The most critical response came in the third quarter, when the Cardinals scored 10 points in 58 seconds en route to a 56-45 victory in a matchup of the top two teams in the Niobrara Valley Conference.

Given their regular-season schedule, losing the first set was nothing new for third-ranked Hampton. So when second-ranked Stuart scored the final three points of the first set for a 26-24 win in the first round of the Class D2 state volleyball tournament, the Hawks were right in their comfort zone. And, it showed.

It wasn’t the easiest situation for a first-year coach — taking over a squad that was state runner-up the past two seasons. “I knew how close they had come,’’ Stuart volleyball coach Teresa Mustin said. “I just wanted to do my best to keep things moving in the right direction.’’

It was nice for No. 1 Stuart to end the state-leading winning streak nine days ago by beating O'Neill St. Mary's at the Broncos' tournament. But to do it again Monday night on the Cardinals' home floor? That's exactly what Stuart did.

Throughout the summer, The World-Herald will be previewing the high school football season with a story previewing a new team or teams each day. This week, Eight Man-2 is featured, with the Nos. 5 through 10 teams today.

Twins Abby Magdanz and Elizabeth Magdanz combined for 36 points to lead No. 1-rated Falls City Sacred Heart into the Class D-2 state tournament championship game with a 60-51 victory over No. 3 Stuart in Friday’s semifinal at the Devaney Center.

While Stuart spent most of the final moments of and the first few minutes after the Class D2-2 district final here Friday on an emotional roller coaster, Wynot's Danielle Wieseler kept a calm head and a steady hand.

It wasn’t easy, but Giltner kept its volleyball tradition alive. After seeing Class D-2 No. 1 Stuart rally to force a fifth set, the No. 6 Hornets refocused to claim its second consecutive state championship and seventh volleyball title in school history with a 25-16, 25-17, 23-25, 21-25, 15-10 victory Saturday at the Devaney Center.

More motivation. Tough defense. Fewer errors. More opportunistic offense. And most importantly, more momentum. You name the category in Thursday's Class D2-2 district final between Class D No. 2-rated Stuart and No. 5 Wynot, and it likely fell in favor of the underdog Blue Devils.

Over the past few seasons, there have been enough chapters written in the O'Neill St. Mary's and Stuart volleyball rivalry to write a book. The defending Class D1 champion Cardinals made sure the latest chapter looked like the first three this season.

Talking to his team following a 48-0 win over Osceola in the first round of the Class D2 playoffs here Thursday, Stuart coach Lance Howitt began talking about the Broncos' second-round opponent.

Throughout the summer, The World-Herald will be previewing prep football season with a new class every week. This week, Class Eight Man-2 is featured, with a new story each day based on last season's final Top 10. Today are the Nos. 5 to 10 teams.

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