LINCOLN — Shelby-Rising City’s sizeable one-two punch of Emmie Noyd and Macy Stewart paved the way as the unrated Mustangs knocked off Class C-2 No. 1 Freeman 18-25, 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 Thursday in first-round play at Lincoln Southwest.
After the Falcons controlled the opening set, the 6-foot-2 Noyd and 6-foot Stewart were dominant for Shelby-Rising City (22-9). Stewart finished with 23 kills, including eight in the fourth set, while Noyd had 18 kills, two solo blocks and four block assists.
Delaney Belt added 36 assists for the seventh-seeded Huskies, who advanced to Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal match at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Stewart also led Shelby-Rising City with 18 digs, while Shaelyn Voss had 10.
“We matched up really well height-wise with Freeman and Emmie and Macy just have the ability to create opportunities for themselves,” Shelby-Rising city coach Sandy Voss said. “They can run fakes and open things up for other people and they also see the block really well and they know how to take advantage of it.”
Freeman coach Dani White said Stewart and Noyd were difficult to stop.
“They were definitely the biggest middles that we have come up against or at least the most effective — the Noyd girl is definitely the biggest,” White said. “We got blocked a couple of times and that didn’t happen a whole lot during the season.
“It wasn’t like (Noyd and Stewart) were necessarily slamming them down our throats, but they were just making shots and we weren’t on our toes for defense.”
Voss said her team’s ability to overcome a first-set loss was just a matter of “cleaning up a few errors.”
“We had some bad passes, some over-passes and we weren’t able to run our offense inside the (10-foot line). There were just some things they needed to clean up and they have a tendency to do that.
“Even though we lost the first set, we were still very confident.”
Setter Katie Unvert had 34 assists and 10 digs to lead Freeman (30-2), which won last year’s C-2 state title. Emily Lenners had 12 kills, freshman Kayla Haynes had 10 kills, 11 digs and three blocks, Alexis Holland had 10 kills and 20 digs and Abby Mason finished five aces for the Falcons.
“Momentum swung and you have to give Shelby-Rising City credit,” White said. “I felt like maybe we were playing not to lose versus playing to win. Our aggressiveness wasn’t quite there and we were kind of looking around a little bit (wondering) who’s going to make the play.”
Shelby-Rising City (22-9).....................18 25 25 25
Freeman (30-2).................................25 22 23 17
SRC (kills-aces-blocks): Sidney Hoegerl 0-0-0, Shaelyn Voss 1-1-0, Erica Pokorney 0-2-0, MaryEll Kohl 0-0-0, Sydney Smith 2-0-0, Courtney Smith 3-0-1.5, Macy Stewart 23-1-1.5, Delaney Belt 2-4-1, Sydnie Adams 1-0-1, Emmie Noyd 18-0-4, Vanessa Velasco 0-0-0. Totals 50-8-9.
F: Alexis Holland 9-3-0, Lyndsey Ehmen 0-0-0, Kaitlyn Meints 0-0-0, Kayla Haynes 10-0-3, Sarah Buehler 0-0-0, Riley Page 0-0-0, Katie Unvert 2-1-0, Abby Mason 3-5-0, Lauren Parde 8-0-1, Caty Weber 0-0-0, Emily Lenners 12-2-0, Maggie Parde 0-0-0, Tori Buhr 0-1-0. Totals 44-12-4