LINCOLN — In an epic match between two championship-caliber teams, Meridian edged the Wolfpack Friday in a five-game thriller at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Mustangs edged the Wolfpack 25-20, 25-27, 25-11, 22-25 and 15-9, ending EPPJ’s dreams of a state championship.
Both teams turned in their best effort. It wasn’t so much that the Wolfpack lost the game, Meridian found a way to win the match and advance.
“I guess it just wasn’t meant to be today,” Coach Tina Thiele-Blecher said about the loss.
“I’m just proud of the way the girls played today. It was awesome.”
Tied two games apiece, the first to 15 in Game #5 would advance to the championship game. Each team took the other’s best shot. Meridian jumped out to a three-to-one lead. The Wolfpack answered back with a kill from Grace Henn and three service points from Calli Krebs (the last one an ace serve) to take a five-to-three lead forcing Meridian to call timeout. The Mustangs answered with a seven-to-two run to take a 10 to 7 lead. Doing much of the damage for the Mustangs was 6’1” senior Lauren DeLord with blocks and Hailey Schafer with attacks.
Following a Wolfpack timeout, a Mustang error and a kill by Elizabeth Selting cut the lead to 10 to eight.
That’s as close as the Wolfpack would get as they added just one more point, a kill by Henn, as the Mustangs closed out the match.
The match was a tense back-and-forth affair. After dropping the first game, the Wolfpack rebounded with a strong second-game effort. Up by five points early in the game, EPPJ saw the Mustangs come back to tie the score at 16-all, then surge ahead by three points. The Wolfpack answered the challenge with kills from Paige Meis and Selting and strong serving from Ally Wemhoff to tie the score at 19-all.
The Wolfpack pulled ahead 24 to 21, then Meridian capitalized on Wolfpack hitting errors to knot the score at 24-all. A kill by Allison Klipp gave the Mustangs game point. Amy Nelson wiped that away with a kill at the net. Henn followed with a kill to give the Wolfpack a game point which they capitalized with a strong serve from Baylee Wemhoff and a Mustang attack error to knot the match at one-game apiece.
Game #3 was all Meridian as they jumped out to a 12 to 3 lead and were never threatened. Nelson suffered a bloody nose and had to leave the game for a short period of time. Her replacement, Lydia Behnk, came off the bench to record a solo block to make the score 22 to 9. The Mustangs went on to win the game 25 to 11.
Down two games to one, the Wolfpack fought back in Game #4. The teams were tied at 8-all when the Wolfpack made their move. An ace serve by Jordan Mescher followed up with kills from Henn, Nelson and Selting made the score 13 to 10. From there the Wolfpack would never relinquish the lead. Meridian closed to within one point at 17 to 16.
The Wolfpack then answered with a eight to six run. Mescher had four service points and Henn had two kills, the last coming on game point to force a decisive fifth game.
For the match, Selting led hitters with 12 kills, Meis and Henn each had nine, Nelson added eight and Mescher had one.
Baylee Wemhoff had a team-high 20 set assists, Ally Wemhoff had 13 and Nicki Payne had four.
Mescher led the team in digs with 30, Krebs had 14, Ally Wemhoff posted 10 followed by Selting with nine, Nelson had eight, Baylee Wemhoff had four, Henn, Meis and Payne each had two.
Mescher, Krebs and Nelson each had one ace serve. Nelson had six solo blocks, Lydia Behnk, Selting, Meis and Henn each had one.
Meridian (26-5) had 65 kills in the match, led by Rylee Pieper with 24. Erin Johnson had 50 set assists and Lauren DeLord notched 11 solo blocks.
LINCOLN — Making their first appearance as Elgin Public-Pope John at the State Volleyball Tournament, the Wolfpack made it one to remember with an opening round four-game victory over Ansley-Litchfield (A-L).
The Spartans won the first game 25-23, then the Wolfpack took control winning the final three games by the score of 25-16, 25-20 and 25-21.
Making their third appearance at state in the last five years, the Spartans had no answer for the Wolfpack who, arguably, played their best match of the season.
The Wolfpack attack accounted for 55 kills, 44 set assists, six ace serves and 77 digs.
“I told the girls you have to relax and play your game,” Coach Tina Thiele-Blecher said about the opening round match where the Wolfpack dropped the first game. “The middle of the first set I thought our nerves started to go away. Our defense was picking up balls. Our serve receive was doing what it needed to do … Our defense has to let our offense work and get those attacks. Swing hard, swing hard, swing hard. That’s what they did.”
A key to the match was keeping Spartan hitter Falan Ryan from dictating play at the net. The 6’ sophomore entered the tournament with 225 kills and 313 blocks. However, against the Wolfpack, she had just eight kills and three solo blocks.
In Game #1, the Wolfpack had to overcome nerves and they nearly rallied from a 23 to 19 deficit to win the game. EPPJ put together a four-to-zero run to tie the score at 23-all. Amy Nelson had back-to-back-to-back kills. Spartan Mariah Lane answered back with a kill to reach game point, then A-L won game one when a Wolfpack attack went long.
Coach Thiele-Blecher said she felt the team’s comeback in Game #1 was a turning point as, beginning in Game #2, the Wolfpack began to assert their will on the Spartans.
Tied at 5-all, the front row got kills from Elizabeth Selting, Grace Henn and Paige Meis.
Libero Jordan Mescher then put together six service points in a row, aided by two kills apiece from Henn and Nelson to build a 16 to 10 lead. From there, the Wolfpack cruised to victory as Baylee Wemhoff had an ace serve to go along with a number of set assists.
Nicki Payne’s kill followed by an ace serve from Calli Krebs got the Wolfpack off to a strong start in Game #3. Spartan Sara Lewis’ play at the net helped to keep A-L within striking distance. With the score tied at 8-all, the Wolfpack put together a nine-to-two run. Nelson had three kills and an ace serve while Selting and Henn each contributed a kill.
The teams then traded points as the Wolfpack took a 24 to 18 lead behind a kill from Selting. After a two-point run from the Spartans, Henn closed out the game with a kill.
Game #4 was tied at 8-all when the Wolfpack seized control. They put together a seven-to-one run as Mescher had an ace serve and Henn added three kills. To their credit, the Spartans tried to mount a rally. Several times they got to within two points, then the Wolfpack would bump their lead back to four points. Another kill by Payne made the score 18 to 14.
The Spartans, capitalizing on strong serving from Taylor Henry and a Sarah Lewis kill tied the score at 19-all. The Wolfpack closed out the match on a six-to-two run. Two serve points by Ally Wemhoff and a solo block by Meis turned the momentum back to the Wolfpack. Selting closed out the match with two more kills, Meis added one and, on match point, Nelson capped a big game with a solo block.
For the match, Selting led the Wolfpack with 19 kills, Nelson had 17, Henn posted 11, Meis added six and Payne was credited with two. Baylee Wemhoff led the team in set assists with 25, Ally Wemhoff had 19 and Payne posted nine.
Krebs had a team-high three ace serves, Nelson, Baylee Wemhoff and Mescher each had one. Selting, Nelson and Meis each had one solo block.
Mescher recorded a team-high 27 digs followed by Krebs with 16, Baylee Wemhoff added 10, Selting, Nelson and Ally Wemhoff each had six, Payne recorded three, Henn had two and Meis added one.
For the Spartans, Ryan and Jesse Shirley each had eight kills and Alyssa Bailey posted 15 set assists.
The loss dropped A-L’s record to 24-10.
NIOBRARA — Hope turned to heartbreak for the Wolfpack Tuesday night as North Central defeated EPPJ in the D1-6 subdistrict final in five games.
The Wolfpack fell to the Lady Knights by the scores of 19-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-21 and 10-15. It marked the second time in eight days the Wolfpack had come out on the short end of the score against North Central.
North Central appeared ready to sweep the Wolfpack after winning the first two games. With their backs against the wall, the Wolfpack answered back with the fight and grit of a champion to win the next two games.
In Game #3, they fell behind 4-0, then rallied back with eight consecutive service points from Calli Krebs. Elizabeth Selting had four kills in the run, junior Lydia Behnk added two. Behnk started the match in place of senior Amy Nelson who was ill and did not make the trip.
A thorn in the side of the Wolfpack for much of the night, Lady Knight Caitlin Orton was stuffed by Paige Meis and Selting at the net as server Ally Wemhoff put together four service points for a 13 to 7 lead.
North Central rallied to take a 16 to 15 lead. The Wolfpack regained the upper hand on back-to-back kills by Grace Henn. The lead went back and forth, the last tie being at 23-all. Selting then produced a kill, then stepped to the service line to serve game point.
In Game #4, Behnk’s kill on an overpass knotted the score at 10-all. The teams then traded points, as the largest lead for most of the game was just two points.
Jordan Mescher’s big serve turned into a kill by Selting on an overpass to give the Wolfpack a 19 to 18 lead. From that point on, EPPJ would outscore the Lady Knights six-to-two to win the game. Ally Wemhoff had an ace serve and Henn produced a thunderous kill at the net to set up game point which Meis won on her serve.
Wolfpack fans were loud as momentum was on EPPJ’s side to start the fifth game. Having rallied to tie the match at two games apiece, the Wolfpack appeared ready to seize the match. If only it was that easy.
A kill by Behnk started the final game. North Central then ran off five points behind Jadyn Bussinger’s serve and a kill from Jaycee Fleming. North Central maintained the margin the rest of the game.
Three more kills by Fleming boosted North Central’s lead to 10 to five. The Wolfpack answered back with a four-point run featuring kills from Selting and Meis as well as a Selting ace serve. The Lady Knights answered back with a kill from Jadyn Bussingner and an ace serve from Orton sparked a six-to-one run to close out the match.
The loss dropped the Wolfpack’s record to 26-4.
Selting posted a season-high 24 kills as she was 52 of 59 hitting. As a team, the Wolfpack was successful on 154 of 178 attacks. Henn finished with 18 kills, Behnk had eight, Meis added seven and Payne recorded one.
Krebs led the team in ace serves with three, Ally Wemhoff had one as did Selting. EPPJ was 91 of 99 serving.
At the net the Wolfpack recorded 12 solo blocks, led by Behnk with six, Meis and Selting each had two, Henn and Payne each had one.
Mescher led the team with 17 digs in the match. The Wolfpack had 41 digs and 33 dig errors.
EPPJ posted 54 set assists in the match, led by Baylee Wemhoff with 26, Ally Wemhoff had 21 and Payne added seven.
Mescher also led EPPJ in serve receive with 33, Selting had 22 and Krebs had 17. The team was 86 of 94 in serve receive.
By virtue of the victory, North Central advanced to play Lutheran High Northeast Thursday night for the D1-3 District championship, losing in three games.
October 26, 2016 by lmorgan · Comments Off
STUART — Two teams stepped on the floor Tuesday night seeking a conference championship. One team advanced.
Elgin Public-Pope John suffered just their second loss of the season, this time to North Central in the semi-final round of the tournament.
The Wolfpack won the first game 25-21, then lost the last three 25-16, 27-25 and 25-10.
North Central’s height in the front row caused the Wolfpack problems. North Central seniors’ Jaycee Fleming (5’11”) and Rachel Stewart (5’10”) play in the front row gave the Wolfpack fits throughout the match.
Yet, at the start, the Wolfpack appeared ready to seize another victory. Game #1 was a slug fest as Paige Meis, Elizabeth Selting and Amy Nelson each recorded five kills. On the other side of the net, Jaycee Fleming and Rachel Stewart had five kills also. The action went back and forth. With the score tied at 19-all, the Wolfpack made their move. They outscored the Knights six to two to colose out the game. Nelson had two kills, Meis added one and Calli Krebs closed out the game with an ace serve.
The Wolfpack trailed for most of Game #2 as Bailey DeVall and Caitlin Orton became more involved in the Knights’ attack. Fleming recorded her second kill in the game, making the score 11 to 4. Back-to-back kills by Grace Henn cut the Knights’ lead to 13 to 8. From there, North Central outscored the Wolfpack 12 to eight to win the game. The closest the Wolfpack got was four points, thanks to a kill by Nicki Payne and another ace serve from Krebs.
Game #3 proved to be the turning point in the match. The Knights would go up by two points, then the Wolfpack would answer right back. A kill by Selting knotted the score at 22-all. Moments later, an ace serve by Ally Wemhoff gave the Wolfpack their first lead at 24-23. A solo block by Orton set up game point and the Knights converted to win 27 to 25. That would be as close as the Wolfpack would get to seizing control of the match.
The Wolfpack never led in Game #4. Skylar Cosgrove had back-to-back ace serves to start a 4-0 run for seven to three lead. Four points would be the closest the wolf pack would get in the final game as Orton put together five kills, Stewart would add three as momentum was clearly on North Central’s side.
For the match, the Wolfpack were successful on 128 of 164 attacks, producing 48. Nelson led the team in kills with 13, Selting had 12 as did Meis. Payne had a season-high seven kills and Henn added four.
The Wolfpack were successful on 70 of 73 serves. Krebs had two ace serves, Allyson Wemhoff had one.
Payne, Selting and Nelson each had one solo block in the match.
Mescher led the team in digs with 28, Krebs had 11 and Allyson Wemhoff posted 10.
Baylee Wemhoff had 30 of the team’s 46 set assists in the match, Allyson Wemhoff added nine, Payne had six and Henn had one.
Mescher led in serve receive with 29, Selting had 24 and Krebs posted 18.
The loss dropped the Wolfpack’s record to 25-2.
October 26, 2016 by lmorgan · Comments Off
ELGIN — Seeking to win the NVC Conference Tournament this week, Elgin Public-Pope John started their march with a sweep of Clearwater/Orchard Monday night.
Playing on their home court, the once-beaten Wolfpack defeated the Cyclones 25-10, 25-20 and 25-9.
The Cyclones entered the match, having defeated West Holt in five games. It showed on the court as the Wolfpack came out strong, building an 18 to 6 lead in the first game. Leading the way was junior Grace Henn with four kills, Amy Nelson had two. On defense, Paige Meis had a solo block. On game point, Meis teamed up with Elizabeth Selting for a block at the net.
Game #2 started out the same way as EPPJ took a six to one lead as Henn, Nelson and Selting dominated the net. The Cyclones rallied to tie the score at 13-all as Grace Rittscher and Jocee Johnston had ace serves.
Baylee Wemhoff’s serving provided the Wolfpack with a boost as she had three consecutive ace serves to give EPPJ a lead they would not relinquish. Meis closed out the game with a kill after the Cyclones had cut the margin to 24 to 20.
Game #3 looked like target practice for the Wolfpack as Calli Krebs and Ally Wemhoff each had three service points. After the Cyclones cut the lead to 12 to 4, Wolfpack libero Jordan Mescher strung together four service points to make the score 16 to 4.
The teams traded points before Wolfpack sophomore Anna Heilhecker came off the bench to notch two service points, the second coming on a kill by Nicki Payne.
Junior Lydia Behnk then put an exclamation point on the match with a kill on match point to seal the victory.
For the match, the Wolfpack were 63 of 70 in attacks with 34 kills. Leading the way was Nelson with 10 kills, Selting added nine, Henn added eight followed by Meis with four, Behnk, Payne and Baylee Wemhoff each had one. The Cyclones were led by Jocee Johnston with six.
EPPJ was strong from the service line, making 65 of 69 serves. Baylee Wemhoff had the team’s lone ace serve. Johnson led the Cyclones with two ace serves.
Nelson led the Wolfpack with four solo blocks, Meis had three and Selting posted two.
Krebs had a team-high 10 digs for EPPJ, Mescher had eight while Allyson Wemhoff and Baylee Wemhoff each had three. Kinzly Macke led the Cyclones with nine.
Baylee Wemhoff led Wolfpack setters with 15 set assists, Allyson Wemhoff had five and Payne added four. Peyton Clifton led the Cyclones with 10.
Mescher led the Wolfpack in serve receive with 11. Kylie Thiele led the Cyclones with 28.
The victory boosted the Wolfpack’s record to 25-1, the Cyclones fell to 15-13 with the loss.