LINCOLN – Hastings St. Cecilia used its overwhelming size and power on Friday to sweep Lutheran High Northeast, 25-19, 25-11, 25-16 in the semifinals of the Class C2 state volleyball tournaemnt at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“It's tough for us because we don't have a lot of size or a lot of power but it helps when we have time to prepare for teams and you don't really have any time to prepare for today,” Lutheran High head coach Kathy Gebhardt said.
“We played a great game yesterday (a victory over Wahoo Neumann) to earn our way here. We knew Hastings St. Cecilia was a very good team. You've just got to go out there and try to play your game.”
Gebhardt added that the time in the spotlight was good for her young team. “Being in this setting, this atmosphere, our girls haven't been here before, so it's a new thing and I think that got to us a little bit,” she said.
“Unfortunately, you just hope you play your best when you go down (to Lincoln), but I don't think we did today, at all.”
St. Cecilia won the first two sets handily, but Lutheran High came out of the gate firing in the third with a 5-3 run that included a pair of kills by Gebhardt, one each by Aubrey Herbolsheimer and Mia Furst and a St. Cecilia service error.
But any thought of the Eagles getting back in the match quickly evaporated with a 6-0 run that included a pair of service aces. In fact, the Blue Hawks finished the match with 13 ace serves to the Eagles' three.
Lutheran High committed 20 errors for the match compared with 17 for St. Cecilia. But the Eagles could muster just must just 23 kills – 15 off the right arm of Becca Gebhardt.
“She's trying to do everything she can,” Kathy Gebhardt said. “We're trying to get her the ball but she had a big block up against her, unfortunately, so that makes it tough.
“If we could have gotten just another hitter or two going, that would have helped take off some of the pressure, but she'll do whatever she can to try to help it out.”
Despite the frustrating loss, Gebhardt reminded her team that more than 50 Class C2 teams across the state did not qualify to play in the semifinals. “We're going to learn from this and we're going to use this to work to get better,” she said.
The Eagles will settle for playing for third place on Saturday. When asked if she wanted to play in the consolation match, Gebhardt was quick to reply.
“We want to show what the real Lutheran High Lady Eagle volleyball team is capable of,” she said. “You don't want to go down like this and have it be the ending, so you hope you can pull together and turn around and do better things tomorrow.”
The Eagles will battle Superior and Nebraska recruit Kalynn Meyer for third place at Lincoln East on Saturday at 3 p.m.
HSC defeats LHNE 25-19, 25-11, 25-16
Lutheran High Northeast (30-7): Chloe Spence 3k, 5d 15s; Madeline Becker 3d, 10s; Kendra Rosberg 1k; Morgan Holdorf 1k; Mia Furst 1k, 1a, 3d; Lauren Buhrman 2k, 2d; Rebecca Gebhardt 15k, 1b, 1a 14d; Aubrey Herbolsheimer 1k, 1b, 1d; Amber Bockelman 5d; Halle Berner 1b, 17d.
Hastings St. Cecilia (34-3): Erin Sheehy 14d, 1s; Katharine Hamburger 12k, 2b, 3a, 5d; Jill Parr 1k, 2a, 7d, 10s; Chloe McCauley 5k, 1a, 4d; Makenna Asher 5k, 2b, 1a, 10d, 19s; Adeline Kirkegaard 3k, 7b, 2d; Tori Thomas 9k, 2b, 1a, 9d, 1s.