LINCOLN — Humphrey St. Francis had little trouble taking care of business in its opening-round win over Garden County in the Class D2 volleyball championships at Lincoln Northeast High School.
The Flyers sent Garden County back to western Nebraska with 25-14, 25-10 and 25-10 win in straight sets to move on to Friday morning’s semifinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena against Lawrence-Nelson, which defeated Giltner in the first round.
“It’s always good to get that first win under your belt and move on,” longtime Flyer coach Dean Korus said. “We left plenty to get ready for tomorrow, but this was a very good start.”
Although his team wasn’t hitting on every cylinder, Korus was very happy with the cylinders working.
“We missed coming down here last year, so we were completely focused on moving on and playing (Friday),” he said. “I felt like we did what we needed to do — and we’re playing (Friday).
Caitlin Jarosz, who has led the Flyers offensively for a good share of the season, agreed with her coach about the team’s first step.
“We had some jitters early on,” Jarosz said. “But once we settled in, I thought we were playing pretty well, but we still need to get better to get where we want to be on Saturday.”
The teams went back-and-forth through the opening race to 25 with St. Francis gaining an advantage after a kill by Jarosz and an error by the Eagles made it 6-4 in favor of the Flyers.
“I thought we played steady the entire match,” Korus said. “We need to step up from steady to win (Friday).”
After a St. Francis error made it 13-10, the Flyers got a winner from Kylee Wessel and she turned around and served an ace to make it 15-10.
A hitting error by Garden County made it 16-10 and three points later, the Flyers took control of the set with back-to-back aces from Alissa Kosch, a kill from Jarosz and a couple of additional ace serves from Kosch to make it 23-12.
The Eagles called timeout with the score 24-13, but the damage was already done.
The second set was tight, with the Eagles hanging around until the Flyers reeled off eight straight points with Garden County up 3-2.
Kaitlyn Hunt hit a winner to make it 1-0 before a St. Francis hitting error put the Eagles up 2-0.
The Flyers evened the score with a slam from Jarosz to make it 2-2, then Kayden Kramer hit one off the St. Francis block to make it 3-2 before the Flyers went on the run.
After Garden County broke the run, St. Francis scored 10 in a row to make it 20-4 after another winner from Jarosz.
The end was inevitable with the Flyers taking set two 25-10.
The third set was more of the same as the Flyers rolled to another 25-10 set win to take the match in straight sets.
“It’s a great start from us,” Korus said. “Now we need to get it back going again.”
Class D2 state volleyball
Humphrey St. Francis defeats Garden County 25-14, 25-10 and 25-10
HUMPHREY ST. FRANCIS (23-4): Alissa Kosch 5a, 8d; Allison Weidner 5k, 1a, 9d, 2s; Kylee Wessel 8k, 1b, 1a, 11d; Makenna Krings 1k, 3b; Lauren Pfeifer 5k, 1b, 1a, 4d; Caitlin Jarosz 17k, 8d; Peighton Eisenmenger 1k, 1b, 13d, 32s.
GARDEN COUNTY (29-2): Kara Barnhart 8d; Kaitlyn Hunt 5k, 1b, 4d, 5s; Maddie Lake 3k, 1b, 9d; Kayden Kramer 5k; Mallory Zorn 3k, 2a; Kamry Kramer 1k, 2a, 13d; Dahnna Miller 2d.