LINCOLN — With her team down two sets to one to three-time defending state champ Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family, coach Cami Oelsligle knew the Bulldogs weren’t done yet.
“They’re fighters. They’re going to come back,” Oelsligle said. “I knew they had fight in them and that came out.”
After winning a tight fourth set, the Bulldogs stormed back from an 8-5 deficit in the fifth to pull out a victory. Humphrey/LHF will play Fremont Bergan in Saturday’s 11 a.m. final at the Devaney Center. They got a huge performance from senior Taya Beller, who finished with 27 kills and 31 digs. She had eight kills during the latter portion of the fourth set to extend the match.
But after falling behind in the fifth set, the Bulldogs got key contributions from others. Allie Schneider and Addison Schneider had back-to-back kills to start a 5-0 run that put them ahead to stay.
“I think they played really good defense,” said Johnson-Brock coach Tera Stutheit, whose team had dropped a total of four sets in its previous 16 matches. “They answered every run that we had.”
Husker commit Fallon Stutheit was as dominant for Johnson-Brock as Beller was for the Bulldogs. Stutheit, who had kills on her team’s final five points of the third set, finished with 28 kills, 18 digs and six blocks.
But it’s the Bulldogs in the final after winning two long matches in Lincoln — they also needed five sets to beat Diller-Odell on Thursday. Beller was asked if Saturday’s final would be another five-setter.
“Hopefully not, but probably,” she said.
Humphrey/Lindsay HF (29-4)…………25 22 23 27 15
Johnson-Brock (30-4)…………………..21 25 25 25 12
HLHF (kills-aces-blocks): McKenna Roelle 1-3-0, Brooklynn Magsamen 0-1-0, Jessica Olmer 2-0-1, Allie Schneider 6-1-1, Yasmine Bender 3-0-0, Taya Beller 27-1-3, Danie Brandl 10-1-0, Addison Schneider 7-0-3.
JB: Audrey Sandfrot 0-1-0, Hailey Sandfrot 2-0-1, Logan Edwards 2-0-1, Taylor Buchmeier 6-0-3, Fallon Stutheit 28-0-6, Jadyn Hahn 15-1-3, Jayse Koehler 3-1-2.
Set assists: HLHF 55 (Al, Schneider 36, Olmer 11, Roelle 4, Beller 3, Ad. Schneider 1). JB 54 (H.Sandfrot 50, Stutheit 4).
Fremont Bergan’s first state title within reach after sweep of Pleasanton
LINCOLN — A first state title is just one win away for Fremont Bergan, which took care of business Friday at the state volleyball tournament.
The top-ranked Knights defeated Pleasanton 25-15, 25-12, 25-16 in a Class D-1 semifinal at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Bergan advances to the 11 a.m. championship match Saturday at the Devaney Center.
“The girls have worked really hard to get to this point,” coach Sue Wewel said. “This is a big deal for our program.”
The Knights went to work in the first set, opening a 15-9 advantage. The Bulldogs, who were riding a 21-game win streak, could get no closer than five the rest of the way.
The second set went much the same way as Pleasanton stayed close early but couldn’t sustain it. Lexie Langley had the final kill of the set as Bergan grabbed a 2-0 lead in the match.
With victory in sight, the Knights stepped it up another notch in the third set. Langley had seven of her match-high 14 kills, including one on match point, to lift Bergan into the final.
“Lexie also had 25 digs,” Wewel said. “It was her time today, and in big matches we need to get her the ball.”
Wewel also cited the play of senior setter Allison Dieckmann, who had 31 assists.
“She put the ball where it needed to be,” the coach said.
Now it’s on to the championship match for Bergan, which hasn’t reached that destination since 2004. The Knights fell in the final that year to Humphrey St. Francis.
“Our seniors led the team today,” Wewel said. “And the rest followed.”
Pleasanton (32-3) ………………. 15 12 16
Fremont Bergan (32-4) ……….. 25 25 25
P (kills-aces-blocks): Kaci Pierce 1-0-0, Isabelle Paitz 3-0-0, McKenna Siegel 0-1-0, Paige Weisdorfer 0-2-0, Katelyn Lindner 7-0-1, Meghan Fisher 1-0-0, Natalie Siegel 1-0-0.
FB: Kaia McIntyre 1-2-0, Allison Dieckmann 1-2-0, Lexie Langley 14-6-3, Haley Kempf 8-1-3, Allie DeGroff 8-2-1, Lauren Baker 5-2-2, Emma Walz 0-2-0.
Set assists: P, 19 (Siegel 15, Pierce 2, Lindner 1, Siegel 1). FB 32 (Dieckmann 31, DeGroff 1).