LINCOLN — Becca Gebhardt had 27 kills to lead Lutheran High Northeast into the semifinals of the Class C2 state volleyball tournament with a 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18 victory over Wahoo Neumann on Thursday at Lincoln Southwest High School.
“This is what we've been working forward to our whole lives,” Gebhardt said. “We've been working ever since third grade so we came out and got it.”
The victory was Lutheran High's 23rd in its past 24 matches. Eagle coach Kathy Gebhardt — Becca's mother — said her team continues to improve. “They keep battling, and they're just working really hard out there on the court.”
The first set was loaded with side-outs as neither team led by more than two points until late.
A Chloe Spence kill gave Lutheran High a 20-18 lead. That triggered a 6-0 run that included two more Spence kills, a Mia Furst service ace and Aubrey Herbolsheimer solo block to close out the set.
Neumann answered back in the second, but Lutheran High led early. A Gebhardt service ace gave the Eagles an 11-6 lead.
Later, the Cavaliers' Lindsey Thiele and Emily Coufal teamed up on a block to cut the Eagle lead to 13-10. The Cavaliers then scored the next seven points and led the rest of the way.
“We had the lead in that second set a couple of times, so it was a little disappointing to not keep it,” Kathy Gebhardt said.
The third and fourth sets played out similarly to the first with teams trading side-outs until late with Furst serving out both sets for the Eagles.
“I think we really pulled together as a team today,” Becca Gebhardt said. “Everybody was doing what they were supposed to do. When someone wasn't doing something right, we got to them and we made sure their head was still up and to keep going.”
Kathy Gebhardt praised her team's defense, especially in the third and fourth sets. “Passing, we kind of struggled with that early on,” she said. “We buckled down on that in the third and fourth sets so that helped us out a lot when we were passing better.”
Lutheran High will now take on top-seeded Hastings St. Cecilia in Friday's semifinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“We watched a couple of (St. Cecilia's) sets here today; that's really all we know (about them),” Kathy Gebhardt said. “In the times I've been here, we've just always focused on that first match and then we go from there.”
Class C2 state volleyball tournament
LHNE defeats Neumann 25-17, 22-25, 25-20, 25-18
LHNE (30-6): Chloe Spence 6k, 1b, 2a, 19d, 26s; Madeline Becker 1k, 12d 17s; Kendra Rosberg 1k; 1b, 5d; Morgan Holdorf 2d; Grace Bitney 1k, 1d; Mia Furst 5k, 1b, 1a, 10d; Lauren Buhrman 8k, 2b, 5d; Becca Gebhardt 27k, 4a, 22d, 5s; Aubrey Herbolsheimer 8k, 1b, 2d; Amber Bockelman 9d; Halle Berner 1a, 26d, 1s.
WAHOO NEUMANN (25-10): Cassidy Most 14d, 2s; Erin Raabe 1a, 3d; Kali Jurgensmeier 19k, 1b, 2a, 30d; Tara Jurgensmeier 2d; McKayla Most 3k, 1b, 10d, 1s; Katie Spicka 1k, 3b; Lauren Thiele 1k, 3a, 12d; 34s; Emily Coufal 6k, 1b, 24d; Lindsey Thiele 15k, 2b, 1a, 5d, 8s.