Paul Hughes

The WHS Blue Devils are the top-ranked area volleyball team this week in Class C. And Class D. Both Wayne and Wynot share the same mascot, the same colors (blue and white) and the same number of losses — zero. And both top their respective ratings charts this week for Northeast and North Central Nebraska.

Wynot, 5-0, won seven of eight games over the past week in victories over Class C2 Crofton, as well as Hartington-Newcastle and Winside — more on the latter Wildcats later.

Meanwhile, Wayne has rocketed out of the blocks with seven straight wins, six of which have come against teams with winning records.

The Blue Devils were the only team to emerge unscathed from the Northeast Nebraska Volleyball Classic last Thursday and Saturday. Then on Tuesday, they lost the first game before rebounding to win three straight against previously undefeated Columbus Scotus.

The victory over the Shamrocks boosted Wayne from No. 2 to the top rung of the Class C ratings ladder. Previous No. 1 Norfolk Catholic dropped its opening-round match in the Scotus invitational to Wahoo Neumann — losing 26-24 in the third and final set — before cruising through the consolation bracket with wins over Hartington Cedar Catholic and Pierce.

On Tuesday, the now No. 2 Knights won Round 1 against crosstown rival and No. 4 Lutheran High Northeast in straight sets. They'll meet again in a triangular on Oct. 1.

Battle Creek remains third despite playing just three matches. The Bravettes will be tested this weekend at the Wahoo Neumann invitational.

Lutheran High is still fourth despite three losses over the past week. Those three setbacks were all close and came against No. 1 Wayne, No. 2 Norfolk Catholic and defending Class D1 state champion Fremont Bergan.

The Eagles are banged up, but there's no rest for the weary. They'll participate in the Wakefield invitational on Thursday and Saturday, with five matches in three days.

Summerland remains fifth after sweeping four matches against Class D1 and D2 competition. The Bobcats play in the Niobrara Valley Conference, so they'll face mostly Class D teams throughout the season, but there are matches down the road with Class C1 O'Neill and against some bigger schools in the Lutheran High Northeast invitational.

O'Neill moves from seventh to sixth. Despite being undefeated, the Eagles have swept just one of five opponents so far this year.

Oakland-Craig moves up from eighth to seventh, despite a setback to North Bend Central during the Northeast Nebraska Volleyball Classic. The Knights also recorded a quality win in the classic over West Point Guardian Angels Central Catholic.

Speaking of GACC, the Bluejays enter the chart at No. 8 thanks to résumé-building wins over North Bend Central and Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons-Decatur.

Former No. 6 Wisner-Pilger falls out of the ratings and leads the honorably mentioned. The Gators did pick up a huge win over Fremont Bergan on Saturday but also dropped three games in two matches to 1-8 West Point-Beemer during the week.

Other Class C1 and C2 teams on the cusp of making future charts include Stanton, North Bend Central, Ponca, Howells-Dodge, Bancroft-Rosalie/Lyons Decatur, Clarkson/Leigh and Spencer Boyd County.

IN CLASS D, Winside finished the week with a 2-1 mark, the only loss coming to top-ranked Wynot. The Wildcats are now 6-3 and maintain their hold on the eighth spot for a second straight week.

After a 15-13 season a year ago, Winside coach Teresa Watters welcomed back a core of returning starters, including senior Andi Bargstadt, juniors Hope Cummins, Brooklyn Behmer, Kati Topp, Jaden Rastede and Jackie Escalante, and sophomore McKenna Russell.

As the only senior, Bargstadt has done a great job of leading the charge, Watters said. “We’ve decided this year, that it’s a team effort by all of us and that we really work hard on making a positive team-driven culture.”

The Wildcats have won six of their first nine matches. Watters said the biggest difference between this year and last is experience.

“We have that group of juniors that come in with a little more maturity,” she said. “We have our senior who has been playing and starting since she was a freshman, so they have that inner drive this year to want to do well.

“Our culture is our number-one thing that we’re working on this year and making sure that we stay together as a team and perfecting our craft,” she said. “They want to come in and try things a little bit faster, and we run our offense a little bit different each time.”

Watters said her program has always been well-supported by the community and that it's nice to see stands filled each night.

Class D preseason No. 1 Wynot continues to hold onto that spot. The Blue Devils, in fact, are the only area D1 or D2 team still undefeated.

Hartington Cedar Catholic and Humphrey St. Francis swap the second and third positions. Cedar's three losses have come to Class C1 and C2 teams while St. Francis moves down a peg after a loss to Class D1 Burwell.

Chambers/Wheeler Central moves up from fifth to fourth. The Renegades rebounded from an 0-2 start by posting three straight wins.

Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family drops from No. 4 to No. 5. The Bulldogs are still winless after two matches, but both of the defending Class D1 state runner-up's losses have come at the hands of Class C teams with winning records.

Osmond enters the ratings chart at No. 6. The Tigers opened the season with a loss to Wynot but have reeled off three straight wins since then.

And O'Neill St. Mary's holds onto the No. 7 spot. The Cardinals opened the season with four straight wins but ran into a pair of buzzsaws over the past week in Summerland and CWC .

Creighton, Neligh-Oakdale, Stuart and Omaha Nation also were considered for the Class D chart.

In other news

As a birthday reading gift to myself this month, I decided to reread one of my favorite novels — “A Woman of Substance” by Barbara Taylor Bradford.

Stepping into a shower stall in our house is a lot like stepping into a jungle. I have not ever actually been in a jungle but have walked through 8-foot-tall cornfields midsummer, so I have a good idea.

The following area bankruptcies were filed in U.S. Court, District of Nebraska. Reprinted by permission from the Daily Record of Omaha.

Norfolk High coach Derek Siedschlag’s scouting report on the Kearney softball team cited the Bearcats’ “small ball” offense as a strong point and a pitching staff that was not a strength.