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St. Paul reaches Lou-Platte final

St. Paul reaches Lou-Platte final

  • By Marc Zavala

DONIPHAN — St. Paul was efficient during its Lou-Platte Conference semifinal match with Doniphan-Trumbull.

The Class C-1 No. 4-rated Wildcats finished with 43 kills with only 11 hitting errors and had six different players record a kill during a 25-21, 25-18, 25-17 victory over the C-2 No. 6 Cardinals.

The victory puts St. Paul in the Lou-Platte Conference final at approximately 7 p.m. Thursday at Doniphan-Trumbull against C-1 No. 1 Kearney Catholic, which swept No. 10 Ord 25-17, 25-11, 26-24.

Lesley Fox led St. Paul with 14 kills, while younger sister Hailey added 11.

Wildcat coach Matt Koehn-Fairbanks said the Fox sisters are going to get their kills, but he was pleased to see other players step up. Jaden Jakubowski chipped in nine kills and freshman Brooke Poppert finished with five.

Setter Claira Thede had 35 assists.

“I thought we got the help we needed from other players,” Koehn-Fairbanks said. “It was not one person. Lesley and Hayley are going to have their runs but it wasn’t just them. Jaden and Brooke both played well for us. Claira does a great job of running our offense. It was a nice efficient night tonight and we played a clean match tonight.”

Doniphan-Trumbull, which lost to St. Paul in four sets Thursday, suffered a blow before tournament matches got under way Tuesday. Maddie Fitch suffered a broken nose during school and did not play.

Considering the circumstances, Cardinal coach Gina Fitch, Maddie’s mother, said she was OK with how the Cardinals played, especially after coming off a five-set win over Arcadia/Loup City in the quarterfinals Monday.

“We had a do a last-minute lineup change so we had some girls who didn’t play at all on varsity this year,” coach Fitch said. “I thought the girls handled it very well. And after last night’s match, which wasn’t one of our better matches, for us to come out and hang with St. Paul, I was proud with how we played.”

St. Paul had to answer runs from Doniphan-Trumbull in the first two sets. After seeing a 20-14 lead trimmed to 21-19 in the first set, Lesley Fox and Jakubowski each had kills that helped the Wildcats pull away.

And then, holding on to a 20-18 lead in the second set, a Jakubowski kill gave serve back to the Wildcats. After a Cardinal error, Hayley Fox hammered home three straight kills to end the second set.

McKenna Niemoth helped Doniphan-Trumbull gain the early advantage in the third with three kills and a block for a 6-2 lead. She had six of her team-high 12 kills in the third.

But St. Paul’s balance was too much with Lesley Fox leading the way with five kills in the set, including one at match point to put the Wildcats into the final.

Koehn-Fairbanks said the focus for the match with Doniphan-Trumbull was “here and now.”

“We try to come up with a word or a phrase before every match and that’s what we came up with. Reason was we want to forget about that last play, we’re going to play this next point and I think the girls really did a good job of not getting down when Doniphan-Trumbull makes a big play,” he said.

In the other match, Kearney Catholic had its way with Ord in the first two sets. The Chants did show some fight in the third after trailing 24-21. Danielle Bruha had a kill and a block and then a Cora Svoboda ace serve tied it at 24-all.

But Kearney Catholic got the sweep with kills from Jordan Streit and Nicole Shundoff.

Bruha led Ord with nine kills, while Andrea Carson chipped in eight. Ashley Carson had 20 assists.

Anna Squiers led Kearney Catholic with 13 kills, 12 assists, three ace serves and two blocks.

Ord committed six errors during Kearney Catholic’s first seven points of the match.

Chants coach Wendy Alexander said that set the tone for the match. Ord had 22 errors, which included five missed serves.

“We came in and everyone felt confident but we looked tight from the very beginning,” she said. “It’s tough to play against a great team when you make the errors that we did, especially at the start of the match.

“The kids know that. We got quieter when we made those errors and we didn’t battle tonight like we did the last we played them (a 2-1 Kearney Catholic win Sept. 29). It was disappointing but hopefully the girls learn from it.”

Ord and Doniphan-Trumbull will play in the third-place match at 6 p.m. Thursday.

As for St. Paul moving onto the final, Koehn-Fairbanks said he knows the Wildcats will have to play well to beat Kearney Catholic and win the Lou-Platte Conference tournament for the first time since 2013.

“It’s going to take a great team effort on our part,” Koehn-Fairbanks said. “They are a typical Kearney Catholic team. It doesn’t matter who they lose or who they gain, they just have a great team that plays their system very well. They have great players at every position. It will be a great match.”

St. Paul 3, Doniphan-Trumbull 0

St. Paul (25-1) 25 25 25

Doniphan-Trumbull (19-4) 21 18 17

ST. PAUL (Kills-ace-blocks) —Bailey Lukasiewciz 0-0-0, Lesley Fox 14-0-0, Grace Jerabek 0-1-0, Bree Carlson 0-1-0, Jaden Jakubowski 9-3-0, Tahya Jerabek 3-1-2, Claira Thede 1-1-0, Brooke Poppert 5-0-1, Hayley Fox 11-0-2.

DONIPHAN-TRUMBULL (Kills-aces-blocks) — Kalee Wiltfong 6-0-1, Ellie Koch 4-1-1, Carsyn Poppe 1-1-0, Logan Poppe 3-0-1, Ana Terrazas 0-0-0, McKenna Niemoth 12-1-1, Madi Groshans 0-0-0, Abby Williams 0-0-0

SET ASSISTS — SP: Thede 35, Lukasiewicz 2, Carlson 1. DT: C. Poppe 24,

Kearney Catholic 3, Ord 0

Ord (20-4) 17 11 24

Kearney Catholic (26-3) 25 25 26

ORD (Kills-aces-blocks) — Ali Smith 1-0-0, Delani Fahey 0-1-0, Cali Lech 6-0-0, Kelli DeRiso 0-0-0, Cora Svoboda 4-2-1, Danielle Bruha 9-1-1, Reilly Peetz 0-0-0, Hailey Zulkoski 0-0-0, Andrea Carson 8-0-1, Ashley Carson 1-0-0, Susie Vavra 2-0-0.

KEARNEY CATHOLIC (Kills-aces-blocks) — Kayla Lee 0-0-0, Kylie Thiele 9-2-1, Ashlynn Schmaderer 1-0-0, Emma Ryan 0-0-0, Olivia Micek 1-0-0, Anna Trettel 0-0-0, Anna Squiers 13-3-2, Nicole Shundoff 3-0-0, Emilee Moore 0-0-0, Jordan Streit 4-0-1, Sarah Oldfather 8-0-2, Jenny Beans 0-3-0.

SET ASSISTS — O: As. Carson 20, Fahey 7, Smith 1, An. Carson 1, Vavra 1. KC: Micek 17, Squiers 12, Streit 2, Beans 1.

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