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State volleyball: Stars make it four in a row

State volleyball: Stars make it four in a row

November 14, 2015 6:30 pm  • 

It became clear early on in the Class C-1 state volleyball tournament championship match between Ord and Kearney Catholic that the winning team would have to earn it.

Errors were few and far between Saturday as the two LouPlatte Conference rivals staged an epic five-set battle at the Devaney Sports Center in their third meeting of the season.

In the end, top-ranked Kearney Catholic’s Kylie Thiele broke a 7-7 tie in the deciding set with a kill, and the Stars survived a wild 25-17, 30-28, 21-25, 23-25, 15-12 win against the No. 2 Chanticleers to capture their fourth straight state title.

“It’s never easy,” Stars coach Kris Conner said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to bust down the door to get to the finals or have been there four straight times. This was a load off the seniors’ shoulders. I’m really proud of how they handled it.”

Early in the match it seemed as if the Stars would cruise to victory. Five kills each by Courtney Shundoff and Madison Squiers boosted the Stars to a relatively comfortable first-set win.

The second set turned into a slugfest, with both teams trading kill-for-kill.

Ord had five chances to close out the set, yet Kearney Catholic fended it off each time.

Two Thiele kills and an Anna Squiers kill thwarted set points. And after a Chanticleer hitting error, Kearney Catholic’s Sarah Oldfather pounded a kill to put the Stars up 29-28. An Ord attack on the following point was just long, giving the Stars a 2-0 lead in sets.

“The second set was a tough one,” Ord coach Wendy Alexander said. “Our kids showed a lot of character coming back after losing that set.”

Ord’s trio of strong hitters — Allison Welniak, Danielle Bruha and Andrea Carson — kept the Chanticleers within striking distance

Carson, who was held to four kills in the opening two sets, caught fire in the third and fourth. The junior collected five and seven kills, respectively.

Welniak added nine kills in the fourth set and Bruha chipped in with seven as Ord evened the match with strong attacks from all angles.

“There were a lot of big kills and big blocks out there,” Alexander said. “Both teams played a clean match. We had a few errors late we’d like to have back. We couldn’t get Carson the ball early in the match. Kudos to their defense for making it tough.”

Three Stars had double-digit kills, led by Thiele’s match-high 24 and Shundoff’s 17.

Madison Squiers, who finished with 13 kills and nine digs, reflected on the accomplishment of winning four straight titles.

“Not many people have one, so to have four is a great feeling and a great accomplishment,” she said. “We had some nerves in there, but we gutted out that long game (against Scotus) yesterday, so we knew we could come back and finish. Being a senior is kind of sad, but I’m really glad we got to end it on a good note.”

State Bound! Volleyball 2015

State Bound!

The Chants won 9 straight sets of volleyball to sweep both Sub-district and District brackets, earning

three more victories and an opportunity to compete in the State Tournament.

In the District Final matchup with the Pierce Bluejays, Ord jumped out to an early 4-1 lead with kills from

Carson, Welniak and Bruha.  “We came out firing early, but played a little hesitant defensively,” said

Coach Alexander.  Pierce has one of the tallest lineups the Chants have faced so far this season.  Pierce

used their aggressive net play to capture an 8-11 lead before Kate Grint stuffed a block to end the run

and get the Chants back on track with her teammate Allie Welniak again finding the floor on with a kill

on point 10.

Teams battled back and forth in set one, but a Bluejay hitting error, followed by a kill from Andrea

Carson, and an ace serve from Ali Smith gave the Chants a 24-22 advantage.  Morgan Alexander ended

the match with a setter dump earning a 25-22 win.

“We had a lot of people involved in our offense in set one.  Both Katelyn DeRiso and Cora Svoboda, also

kept their defense moving.  I’ve watched Pierce play their last 3 games and this was by far their best set.

They did some great things at the net, and our team was pushed to get the victory.”

In set two Ord jumped out to a 5-0 lead including an ace by Alexander and a kill from Andrea Carson.

The Bluejays had a net fault and hitting error early in set two, but they continued to battle at the net.

“Brahmer is one of the better middles we’ve faced this season.  I think her kind of play at the net makes

the opponents learn and become better themselves.”

In set two the Chants had some great serving, putting the Bluejays out of system and scrambling to send

the ball over.  They earned a 20-15 lead on a kill from Welniak, however Pierce was not done and tied it

at 20-20 late in set two.  The Chants struggled stopping Pierce’s big hitters, but stayed composed and

took set three on back to back kills from Andrea Carson, earning a 25-20 win.

Set three proved to be even closer as both teams battled and the lead changed 4 times before Grint and

Carson pounded the ball to pull away 16-13.  Both teams trying to take the upper hand made some

errors, but it was Welniak with kills at point 20 and 21 to stretch the margin by 4 points late in set three.

Andrea Carson crushed an attack from the middle to end the game 25-19.

“This was a great match for us.  Sometimes you come across players whom are very difficult to stop, but

our defensive back court hung tough”.  Jordan Kuck led the team with 17 digs, but she was followed

closely by Morgan and Andrea with 13 and both Allie Welniak and Ali Smith with 12.  “That shows your

opponent through a lot of attacks around your court, and our girls were relentless.  Our out of system

plays made a big difference for us tonight.  At the net Pierce is very strong and Jordan and Ali Smith both

put up some great sets when we were scrambling.”

The Chants hit an impressive .274 for the night with Andrea Carson 16K, Allie Welniak 13K, Danielle

Bruha 6K and Kate Grint 5K.  Morgan Alexander had 37 set assists.  Allie Welniak, Ali Smith and Morgan

Alexander each had one ace serve; while Andrea Carson 2A, Kate Grint 1A, Allie Welniak 1A and Morgan

Alexander 1A contributed to the defense with ace blocks at the net.

The Chants, unofficially, will take on the Central Catholic Crusaders.  It’s not often in life you get a do-

over, but that’s exactly the opportunity they have with GICC.  Central Catholic is one of the three schools

to defeat the Chants this season.  “We really learned a lot from the GICC match and look forward to the

matchup.”  Game time is 3:30 Thursday at Lincoln North Star.

Trust, sacrifice pays off for Ord – GI Independent

Trust, sacrifice pays off for Ord

Posted: Monday, November 9, 2015 8:26 pm

Ord will be making its ninth appearance in the state tournament, along with its fourth appearances in the last nine years.

And coach Wendy Alexander said she believes two themes have helped the Chants go 29-3 on the season and make a return trip to the state tournament.

Those themes are “Trust” and “TPOGIS,” which stands for “The Price of Greatness is Sacrifice.”

Alexander said those things have helped the Chants, who play No. 5 Grand Island Central Catholic Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at Lincoln North Star.

“We have referred to both of these themes throughout the year,” Alexander said. “They’ve all made sacrifices, especially at the net because we have a lot of depth there and they can’t all be on the court each match, but I think it’s made them stronger. My three outsides are each other’s biggest fans. And we finish each practice with a creed reminding each other of our trust and sacrifice to this team.

“I think the trust component has really made a difference in our defense. They work hard at being disciplined on defense so their teammates trust them.”

Setter Morgan Alexander, Wendy’s daughter, is one of the reasons for the Ord’s success. The four-year starter has dished out a C-1 state tournament best 943 assists.

“Her strength is making quick decisions, throwing the defense off, while getting a hitter 1-on-1 for us,” coach Alexander said. “She believes in her teammates and she’s going to do everything in her power to see them succeed.”

The younger Alexander’s belief in her teammates has the Chants very balanced. That has been one of Chants’ strengths.

They have five players with over 100 kills during the season. Andrea Carson leads the way with 289 kills, while Ali Welniak has chipped in 205. Danielle Bruha, Kate Grint and Katelyn DeRiso had 178, 136 and 106, respectively.

Coach Alexander has brought in numerous players during the season and feels they have done well. She said depth is one of their biggest strengths.

“Our practices are extremely competitive, and often times the scout squad holds our starting lineup from reaching their goals,” she said. “It’s taught us to bring your best every day to practice. In our lineup, you don’t have room to take a practice off. You’ve seen us rotate three middles and three outsides throughout the season. We have a lot of trust in our players coming off the bench.”

The Chants are looking for a little redemption against GICC. During the finals of its home invite Sept. 19, Ord led 23-15 in the third set only to see the Crusaders rally to win the third set and match 2-1 to give the Chants their first loss of the season. Coach Alexander said the players are looking forward to the rematch with GICC and knows what Ord needs to do to come away with a victory this time.

“There is no question we need to serve better and be more confident at the net,” she said. “We served 75 percent in the last set of that match and took safe swings instead of finishing the match. We played to not lose rather than to win. But I do think that loss was a turning point for us.”

In order for Ord to have success not only against the Crusaders but the entire weekend, Alexander said there are a few things that need to happen.

“Each player needs to look in the mirror and not let the person they see hold them back,” she said. “We don’t have to be perfect, we have to scrap for every point. That’s the plan.”

Chant Volleyball Wins Home Triangular

Chant Volleyball Wins Home Triangular

In straight sets, the Varsity Volleyball team defeated Adam Central 2-0 and then Loup City 2-0.

In the Adams Central match the score remained close early when Carson nailed a kill from the middle of

the court and then went back to the service line to extend the lead to 8-4.  Later in the match a hammer

from DeRiso on the outside and an ace serve by Alexander extended that lead 15-9.  Great teamwork

kept the margin of lead at six for most of the game as the Chants took set one 25-18.  “We really had

some great efforts by a lot of people.  At the net our middles, Kate Grint and Cora Svoboda did a nice job

of setting the tempo for our defense and our back court had some nice stops.”

In set two all was tied at 6-6, when again great teamwork pulled the Chants to an 11-6 lead.  “Ashley

Carson was serving tough, Katelyn DeRiso had a huge block, Ali Smith was relentless in the back court

and Cora Svoboda earned a kill.  We utilize a lot of different people and that helped us extend our lead.”

Adams Central battled back with some tough serving and a few errors by the Chants to close the gap at

within two, but a tough block and kill from Danielle Bruha extended the lead again by four.  Ord won the

match 25-16.

For the match, Andrea Carson had 7K, Katelyn DeRiso had 6K and Morgan Alexander had 23 assists.

Cora Svoboda had 3 ace blocks and Jordan Kuck had 10 digs, while Ali Smith had 8 digs.

Ord defeated Arcadia Loup City 25-18, 25-17.  Ord jumped out to an early 13-5 lead with great defense.

DeRiso, Svoboda and Grint each put down several big blocks while Kuck and Smith played relentless

defense in the back court.  “Again, our team did a nice job.  Everyone just did what they needed to do

for the win.”

In the match Andrea Carson and 7K, Danielle Bruha, Katelyn DeRiso and Cora Svoboda each had 6K.

Jordan Kuck had 11 digs.  Cora Svoboda had 4 blocks followed by Kate Grint with 3.  Morgan Alexander

had 32 assists.

The JV team also won in straight sets this week and has established themselves as one of the top JV

teams in the conference as well as the area.  “We’ve seen great improvement from our freshman: Cali

Lech, Jade Ritterbush, Kelli DeRiso and Lakita Thomsen.   The teamwork and competitive play by all our

players has really made a difference this season,” said Coach LeeAnn Smith.

The sideline story, this week features a group of juniors who have been relentless competitors this

season.  When following a large and talented group of seniors, it is not uncommon to see the following

class “settle” into their positions.  That has never been the case with the class of 2017.

Andrea Carson is now playing her third year of varsity ball in her third position.  She’s a kid who can do it

all and isn’t afraid to try something new.  Cora Svoboda, after playing third seat in the middle last

season, has improved her play, as well as the entire crew of middles with relentless competition during

practice and games.  Cora’s fearless and a tenacious blocker.  Danielle Bruha has the ability to drill the

ball and literally do damage to the opponents.  Every day in practice, we are thankful those swings are

coming from our side during games.  Cailin Benda is the calm and steady player.  She’s a great

teammate, very smart and positive both on and off the court.  Ashley Carson has developed not only as

a great setter, but an extremely efficient and aggressive server.

“The class of 2017 is a great example of how positive competition can benefit individuals.  They have

embraced the challenges and their teammates.  These types of experiences really help kids succeed not

only in volleyball but in life.”  Overall this class is putting up big numbers this season and have high

expectations for the remainder of this year and next.   Look for more sideline stories next week.

Louplatte Conference volleyball action takes place in Centura this week with games on Tuesday and


No. 2 Ord ends Pierce’s season

No. 2 Ord ends Pierce’s season

STROMSBURG — If the Class C1-4 district final here Thursday had been a semester test, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking Ord stole the answers.

The No. 2-rated Chanticleers answered every Pierce run, controlled the momentum at nearly every point in the match and earned their second trip to state in the last three years with a 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 sweep.

 “We definitely had the opportunity to win any of those sets tonight, but I think we just had a little mental breakdown at certain points in each set,” Pierce coach Katlyn Donovan said. “That ended up costing us. I’m pleased with how we played tonight. We fought tooth-and-nail with Ord, and they area a phenomenal team.”

After Ord ran out to a 5-1 lead in the opening set, Pierce put itself in position to take an early lead in the match by rattling off a 6-1 run to go up 7-6. Bluejays then maintained the lead through most of the set, extending to 15-12 when Ord’s attack fell wide.

Following a timeout, the Chants rattled off three quick points to tie the score and followed a kill by Pierce’s Jaci Brahmer with a 6-2 run to go up 24-21. Freshman Maggie Brahmer answered for Pierce with a block at the net, but Ord setter Morgan Alexander put an end to the set with a tip that fell for one of her three kills.

“I just told them we needed to relax. We were a little bit tight — a little bit hesitant. But once we got into the rhythm of our game, I thought the girls did a very nice job,” Ord coach Wendy Alexander said. “Besides early, we didn’t let them get any long runs, we were able to side out on a consistent basis and I thought our out-of-system balls were very good tonight. That’s something we take pride in.”

Late in the second set, it was another Alexander tip that put an end to a Pierce run.

Down 19-13, the Bluejays battled back to tie the set at 20 when Shelby Bretchsneider found an empty spot on the floor. But Alexander landed a tip in the middle of the Pierce defense to ignite a 5-0 run that ended the set.

“Funny thing is I said, ‘Be ready for the setter tip,’ and she tipped it right after,” Donovan said. “I think that was the turning point in that second set — just a little mental breakdown on our side.”

In the third, Pierce led for most of the first nine points but was never able to sustain a rally after the Chants turned a 9-8 deficit into an 18-14 lead on a Bluejay attack error.

Junior Andrea Carson notched a double-double for Ord with 16 kills and 12 digs. Alexander and Allie Welniak also had double-doubles. Alexander finished with 37 set assists and 13 digs, and Welniak added 13 kills and 12 digs as Ord improved to 29-3.

“I thought we had some great leadership that just took control. Allie Welniak just cut loose on the outside. She put down some big boomers as well as Andrea Carson,” Wendy Alexander said. “We have a lot of competition in our gym. Our practices our very competitive. I don’t think they realize the kind of talent that they have, which is awesome.”

Jaci Brahmer finished with 10 kills and three blocks, Bretschneider had seven kills and Maggie Brahmer had five blocks. Emily Simmons handed out 18 set assists as the Bluejays finish the season with a 20-13 record after opening the season 1-3.

Eight of the Bluejays’ 13 losses came to teams who will be at the state tournament.

“I can’t say enough how proud I am of them. The seniors were great for us this year,” Donovan said. “We got third in conference, which was great for us, and this is the first time in my tenure we’ve been to a district final. We’ve improved so much from the beginning of the season to end, and that’s all I can ask.”

Ord defeats Pierce 25-22, 25-20, 25-19

ORD (29-3): Cora Svoboda 2k; Kate Grint 5k, 3d; Andrea Carson 16k, 2b, 13d; Morgan Alexander 3k, 13d, 37s; Allie Welniak 13k, 12d; Danielle Bruha 6k, 7d, 4s; Jordan Kuck 17d; Ali Smith 12d.

PIERCE (20-13): Ellexis Dunn 3k; Emily Simmons 18s; Jaci Brahmer 10k, 3b; Krystina Schuett 3k; Carly Sutherland 3k; Ellie Moeller 6s; Maggie Brahmer 5b; Shelby Bretschneider 7k.

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