LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team swept No. 18 Illinois for the second time this season, 25-16, 25-16, 25-16, Wednesday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center for its ninth straight win, matching its longest win streak this season. The Huskers improved to 25-4 overall and 16-3 in the Big Ten. With Minnesota's 3-2 comeback win against Ohio State on Wednesday night, the Huskers are still one match behind the Gophers with one to play. The Gophers have clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title and can win it outright with a victory at Indiana on Saturday. Nebraska will need to beat Penn State on Saturday and have Minnesota lose in order to grab a share of the Big Ten title, which would be Nebraska's first since 2011. Nebraska has now reached at least 25 wins in 15 of Head Coach John Cook's 16 seasons at Nebraska. The Husker middle blockers set the tone all night. Amber Rolfzen (12 kills, seven blocks) and Cecilia Hall (nine kills, six blocks) combined to hit .655. Amber Rolfzen was perfect on the night with no errors in 16 attacks for a .750 hitting percentage, one match after hitting a career-best .769 at Michigan last Saturday. Kelsey Fien had eight kills and three blocks, and Mikaela Foecke has seven kills and three blocks. Kadie Rolfzen added six kills, seven digs and three blocks. Kelly Hunter led the Huskers to a .339 hitting percentage with 35 assists, 10 digs, five blocks and six kills. Annika Albrecht had a team-high 10 digs.
The Nebraska basketball team continues its early-season slate, as the Huskers head to Brooklyn, N.Y., for the Barclays Center Classic this weekend. The Huskers, who are 4-1 on the season following a 23-point win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, takes on No. 24/24 (AP/Coaches) Cincinnati (5-0) in the first game of Friday's doubleheader. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT) and the game will be carried by the American Sports Network and on ESPN3.com. Nebraska comes off its best defensive effort of the season, holding Arkansas-Pine Bluff to 31 percent shooting in a 67-44 victory on Tuesday. Andrew White III and Shavon Shields combined for 31 points, as Nebraska built an 18-point halftime lead and cruised to victory.
AP National Sports Headlines
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions host the Philadelphia Eagles in the first NFL game of the day. The Lions share the NFC's worst record at 3-7, but they've won two straight, while the Eagles have dropped two in a row. The Eagles enter the game with a 4-6 record, but they are just one game behind the NFC East-leading New York Giants.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Carolina Panthers put their 10-0 record on the line against the Cowboys near Dallas this afternoon. The Panthers come off a 44-16 rout in which Cam Newton tied Steve Beuerlein's franchise record with five TD passes against Redskins. The Cowboys are 3-0 this season with Tony Romo as their starting quarterback, 0-7 with anyone else under center.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The final NFL game of the day has the Green Bay Packers hosting the Chicago Bears in the league's oldest rivalry. The 7-3 Packers come off a 30-13 pounding of Minnesota that ended their three-game skid and left them tied with the Vikings for first place in the NFC North. The Bears have shown signs of life recently, winning four of six following an 0-3 start before losing a 17-15 heartbreaker against Denver last Sunday.
PARIS (AP) — The French football league says all professional league matches scheduled for this weekend will be played without traveling fans in accordance with a decision made by the Interior Ministry. The measure has been extended during Champions League, Europa League, French league and French Cup matches until mid-December because of a lack of availability of security forces since the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris.
VIENNA (AP) — Austrian tennis player and doubles specialist Jurgen Melzer says he will be out for nine months and miss the 2016 Rio Olympics following surgery on his left shoulder. The 34-year-old Melzer hasn't played since the U.S. Open three months ago and has been struggling for years with persistent shoulder problems. He was planning to play doubles at the Olympics next summer.
Back row: Walker Shaw, JT Shaw, Jim Shaw, Kim Shaw, Jim Harmon Front row: North Central throws coach John Dohrman, Addie Shaw and Concordia throws coach Ed McLaughlin
On Tuesday, North Central senior Adrianna Shaw signed a letter of intent to attend Concordia University where she will major in music education and be a member of the Concordia University track and field team.
Known as Addie, she has been the top thrower in the KBRX area as well as one of the best in the state. Shaw was 6th in the shot put her freshman year and 4th in the shot put and 9th in the discus during her sophomore campaign. Last year, Addie won the discus with a throw of 118' 1", and her 2nd place shot put throw of 40' 9" was just edged by about three inches by Kelbie Lyon of Giltner. Last spring her "worst" finish was 3rd in the shot put at the NEN Classic in Norfolk, but other than that she racked up nine gold medals and five silvers during the season.
Addie's accolades coming into her senior season include: National Champion Regional Champion State Champion Two time All-American Two time National Runner-up State Runner-up 4 state medals
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Ethan Morrison passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 4 Millard North held off No. 1 Millard West on the last play for a 21-14 victory in the Class A championship game at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday night.
Millard West started its final possession at its own 19 with 30 seconds to play and moved to the Mustangs 24. Shae Wyatt then picked up 21 yards on a pass from Logan Anderjaska, but he fumbled at the Millard North 3 and Jack Begley recovered for the Mustangs with no time left.
Millard North (11-2) got out to a 21-0 lead, with Morrison running for a 1-yard touchdown and throwing scoring passes of 9 yards to Andrew Wine and 29 yards to Aaron Gerdes. Millard West (12-1) scored twice in the fourth quarter on Luke Lallman's 3-yard run and Anderjaska's 4-yard pass to Preston Humphrey.
Adrian Kellogg ran 10 times for 82 yards, and Morrison had 23 carries for 65 yards and completed 8 of 9 passes for 113 yards.
Anderjaska led Millard West rushers with 71 yards on 16 carries, and he passed for 159 yards.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Noah Pelan and Lane Napier combined to rush for 306 yards and three touchdowns, Spencer Maguire connected with Kenton Kobza for a 71-yard TD and No. 3 David City Aquinas defeated No. 6 Oakland-Craig 36-7 in the Class C2 championship game at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.
Aquinas' wing-T offense amassed 476 yards as the Monarchs (12-1) won their second straight state title and fourth in five years.
Cole Mitchell completed 17 of 34 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown but was intercepted four times for Oakland-Craig (11-2), which was playing in its first final since 1997. Garrett Seagren caught eight passes for 83 yards and Cody Mace seven for 67.
Pelan led the Monarchs with 193 yards on 14 carries, including an 85-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Napier went over 1,000 yards for the season, running for 113 yards on 23 carries.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Cole Harrington rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns and Brady Przymus ran and passed for scores as No. 3 Columbus Scotus won its first state football title since 1993 with a 32-27 victory over top-ranked Norfolk Catholic in the Class C1 final at Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.
The Shamrocks (12-1) drove 75 yards in 32 seconds late in the second quarter to regain the lead after Norfolk Catholic had gone up 14-13. Tanner Spenceri broke a 26-yard run, and a personal foul on Norfolk Catholic set up the Shamrocks on the Knights 34. Jake Bos ran 24 yards, and two plays later Spenceri scored from 6 yards for a 19-14 halftime lead.
Bos kicked field goals of 42 and 53 yards, and Harrington's 4-yard touchdown made it 32-20 in the middle of the fourth quarter.
Dylan Kautz had 21 carries for 113 yards for Norfolk Catholic (12-1), and Myles Vrbka was 12 of 18 for 218 yards and two TDs.
The O’Neill Boys Basketball team held its fundraising raffle on Monday after practice with the following winners being drawn out at random by Senior team members. The first prize of the 48” flat screen Smart TV went to Alexa Emme, the second prize of the Fitbit went to Leann Gotschall, and the third prize of a pair of shoes up to $100 value from Stadium Sports in downtown O’Neill went to Shelly Frank. The team would like to give a big thank you to everyone who bought a ticket or gave donations to our team. We are excited about this year and we expect BIG things. Please come to as many games as you can to help us attain our goals. Go Eagles!
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Braden Wright rushed for two touchdowns and passed for a third, and Moses Bryant ran and passed for TDs in top-ranked Elkhorn South's 32-21 victory over No. 3 Aurora in the Class B championship game at Memorial Stadium on Monday night.
The Storm (13-0) overcame a 21-6 deficit in the second quarter to win its first state football title.
Bryant ran for a 13-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and threw a 17-yard TD pass to Derrick Vander Linden early in the fourth to put the Storm up 25-21. Bryant finished with 113 yards on 20 carries, and he was 2 for 2 for 46 yards passing.
Wright completed 10 of 21 passes for 236 yards.
Preston Dibbern led Aurora (12-1) with 172 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries, and Grant Fox hit 22 of 39 passes for 212 yards but was intercepted three times.
The Humphrey St. Francis Flyers used a long drive to open up the scoring in the 1st and a long drive to close it out in the 4th on their way to their 4th state championship. The CWC Renegades gave them all they wanted again, but this time HSF won the rematch 22-20.
The Flyers began by stopping CWC's first drive, then pounded out a 16 play, 70 yard touchdown drive that lasted for over seven and a half minutes. After swapping a couple of possessions, CWC then took the lead and took over the middle part of the game. Two drives of 11 and 12 plays that covered 115 yards total culminated in two quarterback sneaks for scores by Brenden Pelster. A two-point conversion to Nick Haburchak gave the Renegades a 14-6 lead. HSF was able to get the ball to the six yard line with two seconds left in the half, but CWC stood tall and stopped the threat to take that score into the break.
The third quarter saw more of the same, as CWC held St. Francis to just eight offensive plays for 24 yards, while mounting another touchdown drive that saw Haburchak pound it in from one yard out. St. Francis then picked up a defensive stop, and the momentum began rolling. Early in the 4th quarter the Flyers scored on a 4th and 16 from the 18 on a pass from Damien Baumgart to Kyle Wemhoff that was nearly tipped away. The two point conversion was good to make it a six point game. After a defensive stop, the Flyers cranked out a 14 play, 55 yard touchdown drive that ate up nearly seven and a half minutes. It was another 4th down coversion for HSF, scoring on a six yard pass play to Carson Weidner. With the score tied, a completion to fullback Evan Classen put the Flyers up by two.
CWC received the ball back with 2:22 left on the clock and two timeouts. After converting a couple of first downs, the ball got away on a first down play on the Flyer side of the field, rolling 28 yards backwards and putting the Renegades far behind the sticks. It was a hole that CWC couldn't dig out of, and St. Francis was able to kneel out the clock for a 22-20 win.
The Flyers more or less were a two man attack on offense, with Baumgart and Wemhoff combining for all but two of the offensive plays and 299 yards. Carson Weidner helped lead the defense with six tackles and three pass break-ups, while Baumgart led the stat sheet with 11 tackles and Wemhoff chipped in nine.
CWC was balanced both on the ground and through the air. Pelster, Daniel Libolt, Zane Patrick and Haburchak all had multiple carries to gain 124 yards on 30 carries. Pelster completed 13 of his 26 passes for 146 yards to Libolt, Patrick and Connor Croxen. On defense, Haburchak tallied 16 tackles and Pelster 14. Cody Ramsey had 14 tackles to lead a line of Jacob Green and Pat Tomjack that played well against a big, physical Flyer front.
With that, St. Francis adds to their championships from 1995, 1996, and 2009. The Flyers were making their 8th appearance in the title game, which is tied for 11th overall. CWC finishes with their best year ever as the Renegades at 12-1, and made their first title game since Chambers won it in 2007 and Wheeler Central won it in 2006 in 6-man. Congratulations to the Renegades on a magnificent year.
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Kale Kleinschmidt rushed 29 times for 218 yards and three touchdowns, Riley Tegtmeier threw for 149 yards and two scores, and No. 2 Bruning-Davenport/Shickley defeated No. 8 Burwell 44-30 in the Class D1 championship game on Monday at Memorial Stadium.
BDS (13-0) led 28-0 in the third quarter before Burwell (11-2) pulled to 36-30 in the fourth quarter. BDS responded by ripping off a nine-play, 65-yard drive to put away the game, with Kleinschmidt carrying seven straight times for the final 36 yards.
Tegtmeier ran 19 times for 64 yards and a touchdown and completed 11 of 20 passes, with one interception. Sam Christensen caught four passes for 56 yards and a score.
Burwell managed only 78 yards on 38 rushes, but Victory Sikes completed 19 of 36 passes for 275 yards and three TDs, with two interceptions. Ty Chaffin caught 10 balls for 158 yards and a TD.
Tait (second from left) and Michael (6) congratulate a teammate after a takeaway (photo courtesy of cune.edu)
The pair of Concordia linebackers from O'Neill both claimed conference honors on Tuesday. Senior Tait Sibbel and junior Michael Hedlund were selected to the GPAC's second team following the conclusion of the regular season last Saturday.
The ironic thing about the situation is that Sibbel and Hedlund both started their careers at different positions. Sibbel stepped into the starting role at safety in the first few games in Seward, and had played in the secondary until switching this year. Hedlund was recruited as a quarterback before making the flip to defense soon after, finally settling in at linebacker late last year.
A three-year starter at safety, Sibbel flourished as a linebacker, where he recorded 53 tackles (6th on the team this year), 12 stops for loss, an interception and five pass break ups. In his career, Tait was one of the top defenders on the team, recording 234 tackles, 9 interceptions and 12 pass break-ups. He even scored a defensive touchdown last year on a scoop-n-score fumble recovery.
A breakout performer, Hedlund surpassed 100 tackles on the year (105) in the final game to conclude a big season. The former quarterback and second-leading tackler in the GPAC also registered 4.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, four pass break ups and one interception. In two years, Michael has 154 tackles and six INTs so far in his career with one year to go.
Seventh-year head coach Vance Winter’s squad finished 2015 at 6-4 overall, 5-4 GPAC, marking the program’s second winning season in three years and ninth-consecutive series triumph over Briar Cliff (3-8, 2-7 GPAC). The 48-0 victory snapped a three-game losing streak.
“We definitely had higher aspirations (for this season),” Winter said. “It just didn’t work out. Through all the injuries and things like that, I’m proud of how our guys continued to fight and continued to play hard. It showed the leadership of our seniors today in how we played. After a heartbreaking loss last week, our guys just went back to work this week in practice. I can’t be more proud of this group in how they played all season.”
Michael Hedlund played especially well in that game, leading the team with 11 tackles and also recovering a fumble that led to a touchdown. Saturday was a fitting end for the linebacker core that made huge strides in 2015. Hedlund, Sibbel and two other senior linebacker starters helped make for one of the NAIA’s best defenses.
“The move of Tait Sibbel and Brandon Namuth to outside linebackers has been massive for our defense,” Mauro said. “Those guys are amazing athletes. Mike Hedlund moved from safety and he is a phenomenal athlete and a great leader. He’s going to do really big things in the future. All I did was my job and those guys flew around and made a lot of plays for us.”
The St. Mary's Cardinals were able to hand out plenty of high fives on High 5 Friday, but not before they survived a scary Friday the 13th match against Hampton. (By the way, I'm sorry for the awful puns, but Scott Poese insisted I must. It was a half-hearted attempt.)
Hampton dominated the first and third sets, but the Cardinals showed their mental toughness with bounce back wins in sets two and four, then ran away with the fifth. In the end it was a 14-25, 25-23, 14-25, 25-23, 15-8 victory for St. Mary's to send them back to another championship, this time in D2.
Playing at Pinnacle Bank Arena, Hampton used 15 ace serves in the first three sets to attain their 2-1 advantage. The fourth set was close, but St. Mary's rallied from a 21-18 deficit to come back and force a final set. The fifth was never really close, as the Cardinals took advantage of some Hampton errors for the win.
With that, St. Mary's advances to their third straight championship match, facing the winner of Sandhills/Thedford and Exeter-Milligan Saturday morning at in the D2 title match at 9:00 a.m. The championships are held in the home of the Huskers, the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The St. Mary's Cardinals took the first step toward getting back to a championship by beating Giltner 25-14, 25-18, 25-15 in the first game of the D2 bracket Thursday. Stuart wasn't so fortunate, being downed 24-26, 25-12, 25-22, 25-22 by the hottest team in the tournament, Hampton.
In the battle of the defending champions, it was clear that St. Mary's brought back a few more horses, as they jumped out to a lead by at least mid-set in each of the three sets. Giltner was caught trying to play catchup, and the Cardinals were having none of that.
The Stuart Broncos finished their season at 25-5 with a first round loss. The Broncos played well for most of the match, but the Hampton serving did them in. The Hawks came in averaging nearly 10 ace serves per game, but pounded out 16 aces against Stuart. Although it will be tough to digest a loss right away, the Broncos should be proud of their season.
The Northeast Community College volleyball team gave #5 Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) a go in the NJCAA Region X District C Championship match, but couldn’t get the W to extend their season.
The Hawks started strong in the match last Saturday in Estherville, Iowa, but the Bears defeated the Hawks in straights sets, 25-23-25-20, and 25-16.
“The girls came out and played very well the first set,” said Amanda Schultze, Northeast coach. “We made quite a few errors, including eleven serving errors which really hurt our confidence after the second set. We ended the season with many of the losses to top 20 teams. It’s sad to see the season end, but we’re excited to get better in the off season!”
Courtni Kunz led the Hawks with ten kills while Layne Mitchell had one solo and seven assist blocks. Mitchell, Rachel Brandl, Taryn Luedtke and Kelsie Myers recorded one ace serve each. Mackenzie Wecker had 13 digs while Kelsie Myers had 12. Bridget Schneider had 22 assists.
Northeast ended the season 17-17. The Hawks won its opening match in the NJCAA Region XI Tournament over Iowa Lakes Community College (30-12) in five sets before falling to DMACC (32-8), who advances to the NJCAA Division II National Volleyball Tournament in Phoenix, AZ, November 19-21.
Following the end of the season, four members of the Northeast Community College women’s volleyball team earned postseason honors, including Mackenzie Wecker and Kelsey Shoemaker, who both have area ties.
St. Mary’s graduate Mackenzie Wecker, a freshman defensive specialist (DS), was named to the NJCAA Region XI-A All-Tournament Team. In two matches in the recent tournament, Wecker had 34 digs, two kills and two assists.
During the season Wecker helped hold down the back row with 3.84 digs per set, and also served up 35 aces to led the Hawks.
Schultze said, “Mackenzie has done a great job as a DS for us all season. In the Regional final match, she stepped up as she played libero for us and did a nice job. Mackenzie has been a great asset to the team and I look forward to seeing what she will accomplish next year.”
Kelsey Shoemaker of Stanton, a freshman middle blocker, was named to the ICCAC’s All Conference, Honorable Mention Team. Kelsey is the granddaughter of Annette Mahony from O’Neill. She put down 2.15 kills per set to lead the team in hitting percentage and also led the Hawks with 0.83 blocks per set.
Schultze said Shoemaker has played well this year. “Kelsey Shoemaker has been a great asset as well in the front row. She always makes her presence known with the energy she brings to the team and has been great leader as well.”
Courtni Kunz and Bridget Schneider weren’t award winners, but both should be recognized for the contributions they made. Stuart’s Kunz was statistically one of the best attackers on the team, averaging 2.29 kills per set (2nd) and her hitting percentage ranked third on the team. Kunz was also second to Shoemaker on the team in blocks. Fellow freshman and St. Mary’s grad Schneider took over as the team’s setter about 10 games into the season and led the Hawks offense with 9.53 assists per set. Bridget also chipped in 2.63 digs per set.
We should also mention freshman Layne Mitchell of Norfolk, daughter of former KBRX employee Bruce Mitchell. She provided even more depth in the front line for the Hawks. Layne was the fifth attacker for the offense, while buoying the defense as the 3rd best blocker.
Congratulations to Courtni, Bridget, Mackenzie, Kelsey and Layne. Good work this season!
St. Mary's captured the D2-3 District Title by sweeping Wynot
The St. Mary's Cardinals breezed by Wynot to not only win the district, but help another area team make it to State in the D2 bracket. St. Mary's picked up their 4th straight District title with a 25-14, 25-22, 25-14 sweep over the Blue Devils Thursday night in Battle Creek, securing their 4th straight berth at the State Volleyball Tournament.
That win was also half of the help Stuart needed to get the 2nd wild card available in D2. Sandhills/Thedford remained undefeated with an equally impressive 25-11, 25-19, 25-20 conquest of Paxton out west, ensuring Stuart a place in the tournament.
Another area team fell just short. EPPJ battled Crofton to the end, but the Warriors proved to be too tough. After losing just two players off last year's C2 runner-up team, Crofton downed EPPJ 18-25, 25-16, 25-13, 23-25, 15-5. The Wolfpack keep playing Crofton tougher each year, but the matchup has gone to the Warriors in each of the last three seasons.
Class D2 @ Lincoln East 1:30 - #1 St. Mary's (29-2) vs. #8 Giltner (20-11) 3:30 - #5 Stuart (25-4) vs. #4 Hampton (27-5) 5:30 - #2 Exeter-Milligan (24-4) vs. #7 Humphrey St. Francis (19-12) 7:30 - #3 Sandhills/Thedford (32-0) vs. #6 Potter-Dix (27-3) Class D1 @ Lincoln Southeast 1:30 - #1 Emerson-Hubbard (30-2) vs. #8 Dundy County-Stratton (20-13) 3:30 - #4 Howells-Dodge (23-9) vs. #5 Johnson-Brock (22-9) 5:30 - #2 Bertrand (27-2) vs. #7 Heartland Lutheran (25-7) 7:30 - #3 Diller-Odell (29-4) vs. #6 Lawrence-Nelson (27-5) Class C2 @ Lincoln Southwest 1:30 - #2 Freeman (30-1) vs. #7 Shelby-Rising City (21-9) 3:30 - #3 Stanton (31-3) vs. #6 Crofton (20-9) 5:30 - #1 Guardian Angels CC (29-2) vs. #8 Arcadia-Loup City (18-12) 7:30 - #4 Sutton (29-3) vs. #5 Hastings St. Cecilia (22-11) Class C1 @ North Star 1:30 - #2 Chadron (32-4) vs #7 Bishop Neumann (20-9) 3:30 - #3 Ord (29-3) vs #6 Grand Island CC (26-6) 5:30 - #1 Kearney Catholic (31-2) vs #8 Ashland-Greenwood (17-14) 7:30 - #4 Ogallala (25-7) vs #5 Columbus Scotus (24-6)
Finally, here are a few notes from Nebraska Prep Volleyball that volleyball fans might enjoy. NPV posted most of this information on their Twitter account, @nebhsvolleyball, and the credit goes to their research.
The 2014 C-1, C-2, D-1 & D-2 champions all return to state this year, but last year's D-1 champ St. Mary's is in D-2 this year.
Also in D-1, Heartland Lutheran is heading to state for the first time, and Dundy County-Stratton is making its first trip as a consolidated school.
In C2, Stanton is making its first ever trip to state after getting a wild card. The team that beat them, Shelby-Rising City, is making just the second-ever trip as a consolidation. Arcadia-Loup City is making its first trip to state as a consolidated school. Arcadia last went in 1994, Loup City in 1974.
In C1, Bishop Neumann is making its first trip to state since 2007. The Cavaliers have never won a match at the state tournament in six appearances. On the opposite end of the spectrum, district champion Kearney Catholic now has the opportunity to make its 6th straight appearance in a state final this year. If Stars do that, it will be 2nd longest streak ever in Nebraska, which would tie Bellevue West (1992-97), Grand Island Central Catholic (2005-10), Northwest (2007-12), Republican Valley (1998-2003), and Shickley (1987-92). The most finals appearances in a row go to Columbus Scotus, who holds 14 during their dynasty from 1993-2006.
And lastly, here are a few of the streaks that continue after Thursday’s action: Kearney Catholic has now qualified for 11 straight state tournaments. That's the 8th longest streak in state history and the longest active streak. Right behind is Ogallala, who is making its 10th straight trip to state, tied for the ninth longest streak in state history and is the 2nd longest active right behind the Stars. Columbus Scotus reached state for the 30th time, keeping it tied with Omaha Marian & Papillion-LaVista for the most trips ever. Right behind them, Grand Island Central Catholic and Ogallala remain tied with 29 total trips to state.
Courtni Kunz (left) attacks, with Bridget Schneider (middle left) and Mackenzie Wecker (right) backing her up. Kelsey Shoemaker (middle right) also has KBRX area connections, as she is Annette Mahony's granddaughter. (Courtesy Photo) Oh, and by the way, watching in the background is St. Mary's grad Jacob Petersen as well.
NORFOLK – The postseason journey for the Northeast Community College’s volleyball team continues after the Hawks defeated Iowa Lakes Community College here Wednesday in a thrilling five set National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region XI District A Semi-Final match. The scores were 25-16, 20-25, 27-25, 22-25, 19-17. Iowa Lakes ends the season with a 30-12 record.
Amanda Schultze, Hawks coach, is pleased how her players performed, especially in the final set. “The girls played very well tonight and came back and fought hard to get the win. We were down 5-11 in the fifth set and the girls played hard and stayed relaxed and came back to win it 19-17. We as coaches are very proud of how they handled it and how the captains led them to the end.”
The Hawks were led by Taryn Luedtke’s 16 kills while Tabby Kander recorded 15, Kelsey Shoemaker had 13 and Courtni Kunz had ten. Shoemaker also recorded seven blocks while Kunz, Layne Mitchell and Bridget Schneider had six, five and four assist blocks, respectively. Schneider, Rachel Brandl and Meagan Backer had one ace serve each. Backer finished with 30 digs, Brandl had 26 and Mackenzie Wecker registered 21. Schneider also had 55 assists.
Northeast (17-16) will now take on #5 Des Moines Area Community College (31-8) in a NJCAA Region XI District C Championship game on Saturday, at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville, IA. The game begins at 12 p.m. The winner advances to the NJCAA National Tournament.
Subdistricts are over and only 12 teams remain in each class (C1-D2 that is) and the district final matchups are set. All districts for those classes will be held on Thursday this year, the first time they are running that format.
With scores out of the way, here are the district matchups. For the most part, it will be halfway through Wednesday before we know a lot of the times and locations of these games. Part of that is due to the teams needing to agree on a neutral site and time, but also coordinating with the schools they would like to host. When times and locations are known they will be updated as soon as possible.
Class C1 C1-1: Auburn vs. Ashland Greenwood - 7 pm at Syracue High School C1-2: Lincoln Christian vs. Columbus Scotus - 7 pm at Centennial High School C1-3: Bishop Neumann vs. Arlington - 7:00 pm at Bennington High School C1-4: Pierce vs. Ord - 7:00 pm at Cross County High School C1-5: St. Paul vs. Kearney Catholic - 7:00 pm at Grand Island Senior High C1-6: Gothenburg vs. Chadron - 7:00 pm at Sidney Class C2 C2-1: Freeman vs. East Butler - 6:30 pm at Waverly High School C2-2: Guardian Angels CC vs. Hartington CC - 7:00 pm at Norfolk High School C2-3: Stanton vs. Shelby/Rising City - 7:00 pm at Columbus Lakeview C2-4: Sutton vs. Hastings St. Cecilia - 7:00 pm at Aurora High School C2-5: Elgin Public/Pope John vs. Crofton - 7:00 pm at Norfolk Catholic High School C2-6: Arcadia-Loup City vs. Hemingford - 7:00 pm at Ogallala Class D1 D1-1: Diller-Odell vs. BDS - 7:00 pm at Fairbury High School D1-2: Cedar Bluffs vs. Howells-Dodge - 7:00 pm at North Bend High School D1-3: North Central vs. Emerson-Hubbard - 7:00 pm at Elkhorn Valley High School in Tilden D1-4: Heartland Lutheran vs. Ansley Litchfield - 7:00 pm at Kearney Catholic D1-5: Lawrence-Nelson vs. Bertrand - 7:00 pm at Adams Central D1-6: South Loup vs. Dundy County-Stratton - 7:00 pm at Sutherland Class D2 D2-1: Falls City Sacred Heart vs. Hampton - 7:00 pm at Tri County High School D2-2: Humphrey St. Francis vs. Spalding Academy - 7:00 pm at Boone Central D2-3: St. Mary's vs. Wynot - 7:00 pm at Battle Creek D2-4: Giltner vs. Elwood - 7:00 pm at Holdredge D2-5: Sandhills/Thedford vs. Paxton - 7:00 pm North Platte High School D2-6: Potter-Dix vs. Crawford - 7:00 pm at Mitchell High School
And finally, the wild card drama continues.
In C1, Ogallala and GICC are the first two that are out, but there is one big matchup that could alter that. St. Paul vs. Kearney Catholic is a battle of the 1 and 5 power point teams, so let's say that Ogallala is in pretty good shape and after that it gets pretty murky, and we won't know until Thursday.
In C2, Wisner-Pilger and North Platte St. Pat's are the first two out. In C2 it will take an upset to take the cards away from those two, as none of the top teams are playing each other. Hartington CC gets a rematch with GACC after upsetting them in the Mid-State final, so that is the best matchup of top teams. The Trojans will most likely drop past St. Pat's with a loss, so if the favorites hold C2 won't be all that interesting.
D1 features Johnson-Brock and Heartland as the two cards, but with several high profile matches, D1 is a mess. Diller-Odell vs. BDS is a 3-7 matchup based on power points, and Bertrand vs. Lawrence-Nelson is the 2-6 game. D1 is more or less "win to get it" and then maybe someone gets lucky (Johnson-Brock has the best chance)
D2 will be our closely watched class as we keep an eye on Stuart. Sandhills/Thedford won, so that is a big 'ol check on step one. Coming into Thursday, Stuart needs St. Mary's and Sandhills Thedford to win. Exeter-Milligan already has one wild card in the #2 spot. St. Mary's will have their hands full with Wynot, a team Stuart knows well, and the Knights don't get a cakewalk with Paxton as their opponent. Bronco fans can put some hope in Sandhills/Thedford, who is undefeated and looks like the real deal, and St. Mary's has as good a chance as any against the Blue Devils. While Stuart won't sleep easy until the end of Thursday night's district finals, there is reason for optimism in Bronco Nation.
The St. Mary's Cardinals just can't seem to break the cycle, but that's not a bad thing. Not only have the Cardinals won four straight NVC volleyball titles, but all of them have come in four sets. History was repeated Friday night as St. Mary's downed Stuart 25-21, 19-25, 25-13, 25-16.
This year marked the 5th straight year the Cards appeared in the title game, as they reached it in 2011 only to be beaten in five sets by Stuart. Since then St. Mary's has recorded two wins over Ewing and two over Stuart in the conference finale. Stuart, meanwhile, has been a part of the top four in the tournament since 2010. The Broncos were third that year with the championship following in the previously mentioned 2011 win, but since then the Broncos have not been able to get a Friday night win in the NVC tournament, placing 4th twice and 2nd twice. Rather than proving any failures on the part of Stuart, it seems that it highlights the depth of the conference, as the Broncos have done quite well in the weeks following the NVC tournament. With state tournament appearances since 2010, Stuart has garnered one 4th place and two runner-up plaques in Class D2.
While the championship match wasn't nearly as exciting as the thriller that preceeded it, great volleyball was seen throughout the contest. St. Mary's won a hotly contested first set by four points, and Stuart turned around and did the same by six points in the second set. In the third set however, St. Mary's jumped out to leads of 10-4 and 18-9 on their way to a 25-13 romp. The Broncos never really could get a rhythm going in the fourth and final set until it was too late. Stuart rattled off 5 in a row on set and match point, but St. Mary's had already built up a lead that could not be overcome.
The Cardinals improved to 26-2 with the win, and head to Bassett for subdistricts. It won't be any easier there, as they face CWC in the first round. Stuart "dropped" to 24-3 on the year and drew Ewing in the first round of that same sub. If both teams win, it will be round 5 between these two D2 heavyweights for a chance to play in the district game. While there is a pretty good chance of a wildcard for one of these teams, it will be a tremendous night of volleyball at Rock County High School on Monday.
The CWC Renegades and the EPPJ Wolfpack put on a show for the NVC consolation. With two teams that had seen each other three times before, played eight sets out of a possible nine, and had three of them go into extra points (one 32-30), it seemed appropriate that the final matchup between the two would go the distance and then some to determine the 3rd and 4th place teams in the NVC. In the end, CWC defeated EPPJ by a score of 25-22, 15-25, 24-26, 25-23, 19-17.
Some quick history before the recap. CWC has been a part of the top four in the conference every year since their inception in 2010. Before that either Chambers and/or Wheeler Central had played on the final night of the tournament every year since 2005, including a 3-0 Chambers sweep of Wheeler Central in the 2009 championship. On the other hand, EPPJ was last year's 3rd place team with a 3-1 victory over CWC, and had one other appearance as the Wolfpack in the final night of the tournament: a 3-2 loss to the Renegades in 2010.
As to the first match of the night in Niobrara, it was a dandy. The Renegades jumped out to an early lead in set one and led the entire way through. EPPJ picked up some momentum with a string of points on set point to make the score closer than it was. The Wolfpack then rolled all over CWC in the second set, and was on their way in set three before the Renegades made it close in the second half. With a 20-17 lead, EPPJ gave up a five point run before getting back on top and winning 26-24. Despite an early EPPJ lead in the fourth set, CWC put up a 16-7 run to surge ahead and hod on to a two point win to send it to a fifth. In the final frame the Wolfpack again jumped out to leads of 10-5 and 12-8, but CWC wouldn't roll over and fought back to tie it up and send it to extra points. It took a few serves before the final tally saw CWC win 19-17.
With that win CWC advanced to 17-9 on the season heading into yet another match with St. Mary's Monday night. EPPJ fell to 22-6, but heads into their C2-8 subdistrict as the #1 seed.
The round of 32 has come and gone in the world of high school 8-man football, and the second round is set for next Wednesday, November 4th. Below are the matchups for our local coverage teams. Times and locations will be updated as the schools work them out.
Class D1 East 5:00 @ Bruning - Neligh-Oakdale @ Bruning-Davenport-Shickley 6:00 - Guardian Angels CC @ Bloomfield 5:00 - Clarkson-Leigh @ Creighton West 5:00 - Blue Hill @ Burwell 2:00 CT (1:00 MT) - Elgin Public/Pope John @ Hemingford 2:30 CT (1:30 MT) @ Grant - Clearwater/Orchard @ Perkins County Class D2 West 4:30 @ Bartlett - Bertrand @ Chambers/Wheeler Central
Blake (left) and Grant running at the State Meet (photos courtesy of Kevin Morrow)
The Nebraska Coaches Association (NCA) announced the 2015 Nebraska Boys’ and Girls’ Cross Country High School Super-State and All-State selections based upon performances at the NSAA State Championships.
Two O'Neill Eagles were included in that list. The Johnston duo of Grant and Blake were named to the Class C All-State list by virtue of their 6th and 7th place finishes, respectively. They led O'Neill's team to 8th place in Kearney last Friday. While the All-State/Super-State is determined by the State Meet, the Johnston boys truly earned the honor throughout the year. In addition to being the top two runners in the Mid-State Conference, Blake and Grant earned numerous medals and consistently were in at least the top 10 of every meet this year.
Several other runners from this area received honors as well. Crofton's Haley Arens was the Class D champion as a sophomore, leading the Warriors to another title and earning the Super-State designation. Other All-Staters were Chloe Korth (Ainsworth), Zoe Ritz (Ord), and Ashlynn Baker (Boone Central/Newman Grove).
The full lists for Super-State and All-State are below. The presenting partner of the NCA Super State programs is WeBacks Apparel.
Boys’ Super-State Class A Seth Hirsch, Millard West Milo Greder, Omaha Westside Joshua Klein, Millard West Wyatt McLeod, Lincoln Northeast Zachary Lundberg, Omaha North Andrew Vasquez, Omaha Burke John Quigley, Millard West Andrew Dubas, Millard West Abram Turner, Lincoln Southeast Evan Johnson, Lincoln Southeast Jacob Norris, Papillion-La Vista Jared Yost, Lincoln Pius X Jacob Ralston, Papillion-La Vista South Sage Reiger, Fremont John Slagle, Creighton Prep Class B Jackson Larsen, Omaha Gross Catholic Austin Yardley, Elkhorn Joshua Hergenreder, Scottsbluff Class C Tylin Masco, Milford Class D Elija Frasher, Aquinas Catholic
Boys’ All-State Class A Top 15 Super-State Class B Top 3 Super-State John Mark Shields, Lexington Grant Moody, Aurora Corhan Kress, Plattsmouth Zachary Hytrek, Mount Michael Benedictine Class C Top 1 Super-State Nathan Ostdiek, Columbus Scotus Jaco Henning, Ogallala Hunter Jensen, Milford Edward Grentz, Mitchell Grant Johnston, O’Neill Blake Johnston, O’Neill Class D Top 1 Super-State Colt West, Omaha Christian Academy Nolan Kohmetscher, Nebraska Christian Riley Ruskamp, Wisner-Pilger Justin Vrooman, Hastings St. Cecilia Brennan Nokelby, Nebraska Christian Alexander Araujo, Bayard
Girls’ Super-State Class A Taylor Somers, Millard South Diana Lado Andrea, Lincoln North Star Katherine Williams, Omaha Marian Elsa Forsberg, Lincoln Southeast Willa Koenig, Lincoln Pius X Megan Means, Norfolk Kaitlynn Johnson, Millard West Ellie Beiermann, Lincoln Pius X Annastasia Milton, Papillion-La Vista South Gabrielle McGinn, Millard West Class B Mazie Larsen, Gretna Erin Lee, York Whitney Riesen, Scottsbluff Rebekah Rawlings, Gering Emily Johnson, Elkhorn South Jonna Bart, Aurora Allison Goos, Columbus Class C Taya Skelton, Fort Calhoun Class D Haley Arens, Crofton Madison Lambley, Dundy County Stratton
Girls All-State Class A Top 10 Super-State Class B Top 7 Super-State Class C Top 1 Super-State Zoe Ritz, Ord Sophia Conant, Adams Central Lucia McKeag, Ogallala Ashlynn Baker, Boone Central/Newman Grove Kiya Passero, Chadron Celeste Cardona, Mitchell Class D Top 1 Super-State Madison Quist, Doniphan-Trumbull Collette Williams, Lincoln Christian Katie Cumpston, Nebraska Christian Paige Thelen, Stanton Chloe Korth, Ainsworth
If you were to bring up the Crofton girls in the context of high school sports, chances are you would think of basketball and running. With apologies to Coach Losing's squads that have played three games at State every year since 2005, the runners have been the most successful group of athletes Crofton has ever had. In the following article, the most recent parts of Crofton's legacy are examined by coach Jayne Arens (with a note or two added by the editor).
In 2010 the Crofton harriers earned the most team championships in Nebraska history by adding to Coach Gale Peterson’s legacy of wins from 1981 to 1988 and 1992. The Crofton girls did it again this year as they beat out Lincoln Southeast for the most consecutive team championships. The dynasty from 2006 to present is now the longest streak, and the Crofton girls also hold the third place on the list with eight titles from their run (pun intended) in the '80s.
“Crofton is known for its running and to be able to build to its legacy has been an honor,” said coach Arens. “But we couldn’t have done it without the work ethic, drive and determination of the girls we coached.”
This record was all started by an unexpected group of girls. That first state championship team with Kristin Steffen, Rachel Barnes, Marissa Falkenberg, Karley Boecker, Lacey Wendte and Lexi Arens did not know what they were starting when they decided to give cross-country a try.
“It was five freshman and one senior ten years ago that were talked into trying cross country by a friend,” stated Coach Arens. “I remember their goals at the beginning of the season. They wanted to finish the race without stopping but as the season progress they realized that they could not only finish the races they could win them.”
From there the girls spread their love of running to anyone who would listen and their legacy began to grow. Each season more girls decided to give it a try and sometimes surprised themselves on how well they did.
“The neat thing about these championships is they were not made by one or two outstanding runners. They were won by those girls who couldn’t even run a mile without stopping when they started, and by the end they were medaling at state.” said Coach Arens.
The harriers not only broke the record for the most consecutive championships in a row, but Haley Arens also broke the Class D course record with a time of 19:29 on the way to an individual gold medal. Haley was behind in the race until half way through when she took the lead from Madison Lambley of Dundy County Stratton.
sophomore Haley Arens, 2015 Class D Champion (photo courtesy of Sioux City Journal)
“I knew there was going to be some tough competition so I focused on running my race the best I could.” said Haley.
Haley was not the only one pushing to do the best she could. Krista Zavadil just missed out of medaling with 16th place in a time of 21:19. Kyla Dendinger placed 19th with a time of 21:34 and Samantha Altwine just missed the top twenty with her 21st place in a time of 21:39. Keeley Hagge (24:09) and Jessica Lange (24:11) completed the Crofton team.
“We have been working hard all season and to finally reach our goal has been amazing,” said Krista Zavadil.
“We could not have done it without all the alumni, family and friends that came to cheer us on. They really pushed us that extra little bit we needed during the race” added Kyla Dendinger.
There will be a community pep rally this Sunday at 1:00 at the Crofton high school to recognize the girls state successes.