YORK - One team was assured of notching its last win of the regular season, the other one final loss when York hosted Crete in volleyball Tuesday night.
When the dust settled on a five-set nail biter it was win number seven for the Dukes and loss number 26 for the Cardinals, who finished 6-26 to the Dukes 7-23 heading into district play.
Scores favored York 17-25, 25-18, 25-16, 21-25, 15-10.
On what she termed a very positive note, York coach Kayla Makovicka said it's the first time this season her Dukes have come out of a fifth set as the winner.
"That was nice to see," she said, beaming.
She said senior Erin Malleck "definitely had a good game all the way through" with 14 kills in the match. Junior Dacia Stuhr started more slowly, but found her pace and eventually matched her teammate's 14 terminations.
The Dukes were missing sophomore Taylor Hansen because of an FFA conflict, but her stand-in, 5-5 freshman Jenny Kadavy, plucked the Cardinals just fine in relief.
Early on the match had the makings of a bleak evening for York, which trailed 16-9 after a 5-zip Crete run in set one. The Dukes were never in the set and all late kills from Mary Heng and Shelby Dickes did was delay the inevitable.
But then came the second set in which the Dukes also trailed early, but forged ties at 11-11, 12-12 and 16-16 on the way to finally leading 18-17 on a kill by Hayley Burke, the 5-10 sophomore. Kadavy got a kill, Malleck added an ace and York led 20-17. The set turned on a kill by Stuhr at the end of a long and amazing volley that featured wonderful defense on both sides of the string. It put York up 22-18 and took some wind from the Cardinals' sail. A tip kill from Stuhr brought it to set point, which came when Crete attacked long.
The third set saw the Dukes win large when Malleck blew up all over the Cardinals. The senior dominated to the tune of six kills and an ace serve in the set. Setter Kati Pieper had an ace, too, which added to the impact of a Kadavy kill and two from Stuhr, the second on an overpass she clubbed into the floor to make it 24-16.
The final nail was driven when Crete hit wide.
Set four saw the Dukes get down 15-10 before a timeout that didn't stem the Cardinal tide.
York was called for two hits off the serve of Kadavy and went behind 1-0 to start the fifth, but got the point back when Malleck hammered a kill off a Crete block and out. Two mishits by the Cardinals were crucial, especially when Malleck put the Dukes up 6-2 with a kill. A Stuhr kill made it 8-4 and Duke eyes were shining.
Then the Cardinals roared back to within 11-10 and quieted down the York gym.
Enter the diminutive freshman, Kadavy, for an ace serve that couldn't have been bigger. It staked the Dukes to a three-point cushion at 13-10 and put them just two away from winning the match.
Victory came when Malleck got back-to-back kills, still on Kadavy's serve.
Coach Makovicka said it's likely the Dukes will be saddled with all-class No. 1 ranked Grand Island Northwest in the district tournament to come, however pairings aren't expected to be made official by the Nebraska School Activities Association until this morning.