LINCOLN — A 7-0 deficit in the fifth set of a volleyball match rarely ends well for the trailing team.
Not so Saturday with Diller-Odell, which fought its way back to capture a second consecutive state title.
The Griffins defeated CWC (Chambers/Wheeler Central) 26-24, 25-20, 14-25, 22-25, 16-14 in the Class D-2 final of the state tournament. Diller-Odell (33-1) won the D-1 title last year.
“Our girls fought hard all season," Diller-Odell coach Reba Hestermann said. “We kind of let up a little bit today, but our team is resilient."
The momentum swung wildly in the match, but one constant was a quick start each set by CWC. That began in the opening set when the Renegades held a 7-0 advantage — the same lead they would eventually take in the final set.
“I felt like we had to be aggressive," CWC coach Diane Kasselder said. “We got off to a great start in every set and that helped our confidence."
The Griffins managed to climb out of that early hole to capture the first set 26-24. The second set also was close, but Diller-Odell took a 2-0 lead in the match.
Any thought CWC would go away vanished in the third set as the Renegades cruised to an 11-point win. They carried that momentum into the fourth set and won 25-22 to force the 15-point final set.
Strong serving by libero MaKenna Pelster helped CWC open that early seven-point advantage. Diller-Odell then went on a 9-2 run with the help of four CWC errors to get it tied.
“We made too many mistakes," Kasselder said. “I think things would have turned out differently if we would have kept the ball in play."
Diller-Odell led 14-10, but still the Renegades wouldn’t quit. They fought off four match points before a pair of kills by Ava Lovitt gave the title to the Griffins.
“Even when we were behind in that last set, we weren’t going to panic," senior setter Addison Heidemann said. “We knew that we had to chip away and be disciplined."
Heidemann, who will walk on at Iowa State next year, finished her varsity career with 35 assists. Her sister Karli pounded 29 kills and had 20 digs.
Morgan Ramsey led the Renegades with 18 kills while Tessa Metschke had 17. Setter Ryann Haburchak dished out 45 assists.
“We knew it would be a challenge playing a good team like that," Addison Heidemann said. “That’s what made it so much fun."
CWC (33-2)...............24 20 25 25 14
Diller-Odell (33-1)....26 25 14 22 16
CWC (kills-aces-blocks): Emma Jonseth 11-0-0, Michelle Koenig 7-2-0, Ryann Haburchak 2-0-0, Morgan Ramsey 18-3-6, Rachel Dierks 6-0-4, Tessa Metschke 17-0-0, MaKenna Pelster 1-3-0.
DO: Madelyn Meyerle 5-2-2, Addison Heidemann 3-2-3, Ava Lovitt 5-0-3, Lilly Swanson 3-0-4, Elecea Saathoff 1-1-0, Karli Heidemann 29-1-3.
Set assists: CWC 55 (Haburchak 45, Metschke 3, Alexis Butterfield 2, Dierks 2, Koenig 1, Ramsey 1, Pelster 1); DO 42 (A. Heidemann 35, K. Heidemann 3, Lovitt 2, Meyerle 1, Saathoff 1).