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Ord moves into C-1 title match

Ord moves into C-1 title match

 Posted: Friday, November 13, 2015 11:00 pm |Updated: 11:24 pm, Fri Nov 13, 2015.

LINCOLN – Things weren’t going Ord’s way for most of the second set.

The Class C-1, No. 2-rated Chants found themselves down 20-12 and struggling to get anything going against No. 6 Chadron.

But slowly, they started to chip away at the lead and eventually rallied to take the set. That carried over into the third as Ord, behind Andrea Carson’s 13 kills, pulled away to a 25-23, 28-26, 25-17 win over the Cardinals Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The win puts the Chants into the C-1 final at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center against Kearney Catholic.

Ord coach Wendy Alexander said rallying to take that set was a big step.

“Momentum just went into our favor after that and you can see that in the faces of our players,” Alexander said. “It takes a lot of character and I was glad to see the girls stay composed and finish the match.”

Setter Morgan Alexander, Wendy’s daughter, said the confidence just rose higher and higher after rallying to take the second set.

“We got into a little hole there but we were able to pull it out,” she said. “We just never quit and came out on top in that set. Kudos to them because they got a good team.”

Before that, Chadron started to find its offense before trailing 17-9 in the first set. Jadyn McCartney and Chandler Hageman each had four first-set kills to bring the Cardinals back to within 24-23, but a Carson kill gave Ord the set.

Hageman had three kills that pushed that lead to 20-12 in the second set. Ord cut it to 23-21 before Hageman hammered down a kill to take it to set point.

After a Chadron service error, Morgan Alexander, who had 33 assists, dug a hard McCartney shot and the ball went back over the net and just landed on the line. After that, a Cora Svoboda block tied the match at 24-all.

McCartney, who led Chadron with 12 kills, had two to give the Cardinals two more chances to finish. But Ord had the answers as Carson, Danielle Bruha and Kate Grint came up with kills to give Ord a 2-0 lead.

Cardinal coach Don Matt said he thought Ord picked up its defense in both blocking and digging.

“They really picked up their defense in that second set,” Matt said. “They had some nice digs and had some big blocks and got some big attacks out of it. We didn’t do a great job at the end of that second set. And early on, we were having ball control issues and we corrected those and helped us get that lead but Ord made the plays in that second set.”

Coach Alexander agreed about the defense, especially blocking. The Chants had three down the stretch and eight blocks in the match.

“Our blockers did a much better job late in the set,” she said. “We were put back on our heels a little bit defensively. They did a great job offensively but we had some errors (seven in the set). The girls started to run the offense a little better once we started to come back.”

And it was Carson that carried Ord to the finish line as she had four late kills that allowed the Chants to take a 24-16 lead in the third before a Chadron service error ended the match.

Morgan Alexander dished out 33 assists to lead a balanced attack. Grint and Ali Welniak both added seven kills.

Ord looks to win its second state title since 2007.

Now the Chants can turn their attention to three-time defending champion and No. 1 Kearney Catholic, which rallied from a 14-12 fifth-set deficit to defeat Columbus Scotus. This will be the third time the two teams will play each other with each team winning a match.

Morgan Alexander said she’s excited to be playing in the finals after watching her older sister Megan play in the Chants’ 2011 C-2 runner-up team.

“It’s just a fun environment and I can’t wait to play in it,” she said. “It’s going to be a great game and hopefully we can come out on top.”

Ord sweeps past GICC

Ord sweeps past GICC

Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2015 7:05 pm |Updated: 8:38 pm, Thu Nov 12, 2015.

LINCOLN – Ord finished off Grand Island Central Catholic this time around.

After seeing the Crusaders rally for a 2-1 win earlier this season, the Chanticleers didn’t allow a repeat during a 25-21, 25-21, 25-18 sweep Thursday in the first round of the Class C-1 state tournament at Lincoln North Star.

“I thought the girls looked more confident than they did when we played them earlier in the season,” Ord coach Wendy Alexander said. “We played tentative early in the season. We were up and we didn’t finish. It was a turning point for us in our season.

“I think tonight they were very determined to get it done in three.”

The No. 2-rated Chants (30-3) used a balanced attack in the sweep. Danielle Bruha led the way with 11 kills.

“Danielle Bruha played huge at the net for us tonight,” Alexander said. “She’s a very athletic, very strong player.”

Allison Welniak added 10 kills while Andrea Carson had nine. Morgan Alexander directed the offense while finishing with 40 set assists.

“We have great depth and diversity in our attackers and they swing hard,” Wendy Alexander said. “All of them do.

“We have some people who didn’t have as many kills tonight who had been our leaders all season. Not many teams can say that. Morgan I think is one of the luckiest setters in the state because she’s got so many great hitters, and she did a nice job of running our offense.”

Lauren Webb led the No. 5 Crusaders (26-7) with eight kills.

Sadie Goering added seven kills, Emily Herbek and Daryn Willman both had six while the team’s kills leader for the season, freshman Megan Woods, was held to five.

“They were really serving at our freshman a lot trying to keep her out of our offense,” GICC coach Sharon Zavala said. “Last time we played them, she had 13 kills. They really did a good job of keeping our freshman out of the offense.”

Zavala said the difference in serving between the teams played a big part in Ord winning the rematch.

“I thought their serve was tremendous today because we’re a good passing team,” she said. “We weren’t passing very well. Then we committed 10 service errors.

“It was kind of a reversal from the last time we played them. They had the service errors then, and today we had the service errors.”

Ord never trailed in either of the first two sets. The Chanticleers jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first and an 8-1 advantage in the second before holding off GICC comeback bids.

“I thought the biggest problem we had was we let them have too many runs of three or four points,” Zavala said. “You want to narrow it down to two points. They had some big runs.

“We had some big runs, but we didn’t have as many as they did.”

Ord got some big blocks late in the match with three of its five coming in the final set. Cora Svoboda finished with three and Kathryn Grint had two.

“Both of our middles had some huge blocks there in set three and in set two, too,” Wendy Alexander said. “Grand Island Central Catholic does a great job off the block. They’re not the biggest hitters, but they swing hard and it’s hard to put the ball across the net on them.”

Ord faces No. 6 Chadron in Friday’s 1 p.m. semifinal at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Cardinals got past No. 7 Bishop Neumann in five sets.

The loss marked the end of the GICC volleyball careers for six seniors.

“My seniors are great kids,” Zavala said. “I’m very fortunate to have coached this group because they’re quality girls and they work extremely hard, they’re extremely intelligent and they got everything they could out of themselves.”

Ord falls just short in C-1 final

Ord falls just short in C-1 final

Posted: Saturday, November 14, 2015 8:48 pm |Updated: 8:53 pm, Sat Nov 14, 2015.

LINCOLN – Ord couldn’t quit complete the comeback in the Class C-1 final.

After falling behind 2-0, which included losing a late lead in the second, the No. 2-rated Chants rallied to win the next two sets.

Unfortunately for tehm, No. 1 Kearney Catholic showed why it was the defending champion by making the plays in the fifth set to win its fourth consecutive title with a 25-17, 30-28, 22-25, 23-25, 15-12 victory Saturday at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Ord coach Wendy Alexander said she felt the Chants had the momentum after fighting back to force the fifth.

“I really did. The kids really fought back and played hard,” she said. “Our hitters put big swings at the ball. But Kearney Catholic did a great job of switching things up and made the big plays when they had to. Overall, I thought it was a great game as both teams competed hard.”

Star coach Kris Conner said she was a little concerned after Ord forced a fifth. Kearney Catholic fought back from a 14-12 fifth-set deficit to defeat Columbus Scotus 16-14 in the semifinals Friday.

“We were pretty shot after yesterday’s win. It kind of shows you what adrenaline does,” Conner said. “We did have a sense of urgency there and I was proud of how the girls played today.”

After dropping the first set pretty handily, Danielle Bruha came alive for Ord as she had five of her 17 kills in the set to give the Chants a 16-13 lead.

But Kylie Thiele kept the Stars in the match with 10 of her match-high 24 kills in the set, including on two Ord set points. In fact, the Chants had five chances to close out the second set but a Sarah Oldfather kill and two Ord errors in the final stages gave Kearney Catholic a 2-0 lead.

“That was tough for us to lose that second set and chances of a team coming back to win a second set aren’t usually good but our kids did a great job of fighting back,” Alexander said.

That they did with the help of Andrea Carson. The 5-8 junior had 12 of her 16 kills in the middle two sets in giving the Chants a 17-14 lead in the third and a 22-18 in the fourth. The Stars rallied in both sets but Ord had an answer in each, including getting three straight kills from Ali Welniak, Bruha and Carson to end the fourth.

Thiele had three kills that gave Kearney Catholic a 10-8 lead.

After committing an error, the Stars responded with a Courtney Shundoff kill, then an Ord error and a Anna Squiers ace block gave them a 13-9 lead.

But Kate Grint and Bruha had back-to-back kills to keep Ord in the match. Shundoff’s 17th kill took Kearney Catholic to match point.

After Grint answered to keep the Chants alive, Madison Squiers ended the match with her 13th kill.

Conner said she wasn’t surprised to see Ord fight back to force a fifth.

“Ord has a great team and they have great balance like we do,” she said. “They did a great job in battling back.”

The two teams, who both split with each other during the regular season, were even throughout the match as Ord had a 69-67 edge in kills. Chant setter Morgan Alexander, Wendy’s daughter, delivered 68 assists and had 23 digs. Ali Welniak led Ord with 20 kills.

Coach Alexander said even though the Chants fell short of achieving their goal, she was proud of how they competed during the season.

“Our kids competed hard and never quit and that was evident tonight,” she said. “We did some great things this year and I’m proud of what they did. This is big for our community. A majority of it came down and supported us this weekend. It was awesome and I’m sure we’ll have a big gathering welcoming us back into town tonight.”

C-1 state volleyball, Kearney Catholic vs. Ord

Photos: C-1 state volleyball, Kearney Catholic vs. Ord

The Stars and the Chanticleers met in the Class C-1 state volleyball final Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center. Photos by Jenna VonHofe/Lincoln Journal Star.

State volleyball: Ord turns back Chadron to reach C-1 final

State volleyball: Ord turns back Chadron to reach C-1 final

November 13, 2015 4:30 pm  • 

Ord was in trouble. Chadron had lost the first set but steamed to a 20-12 lead in the second set.

It was time for desperate measures.

“I said, ‘Go get ’em, crazy goat lady,'” Ord coach Wendy Alexander said.

She challenged junior middle blocker Cora Svoboda, who is a champion goat exhibitor when not playing volleyball.

Svoboda recorded four blocks, and No. 2 Ord rallied to beat Chadron 25-23, 28-26, 25-17 Friday in the Class C-1 state volleyball tournament semifinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“We had a couple of those little moments when everything changes and it worked out for the best,” said Alexander, whose team improved to 31-3.

Unranked Chadron blasted its way to the 20-12 lead in the second set when Kathryn Grint scored on a kill and two blocks, and teammate Allison Welniak added a kill. But Svoboda scored on two blocks and a kill to tie it at 24.

“We had one play there where they just smashed the ball and our setter (Morgan Alexander) dove and popped it up and somehow it dropped straight down just in the corner and we ended up winning,” coach Alexander said.

Andrea Carlson led the charge in the third set, and led the Chanticleers with 13 kills, two blocks and 13 digs in the match.

“Andrea really got after it, and the changes we made seemed to give us a lot of momentum,” the Ord coach said. “Andrea has played three positions for us in three years — outside, middle and now right-side, and she handled all those changes so well, we just count on her game after game.”

 Chadron (33-5) was led by Jadyn McCartney and Chandler Hageman, who combined for 22 kills and eight blocks.

“We didn’t play bad at all, but Ord is a really good team,” said Chadron coach Don Matt. “They really picked up the defensive end, and that got the momentum on their side.

“Volleyball is such a game of momentum — if we win that second set, we might have pushed this game.

“But you need a little luck sometimes to get that momentum on your side.”

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