LINCOLN – Simply put, Grand Island Central Catholic served up a victory at the state volleyball tournament.
The Class C-2, No. 3 Crusaders had 10 ace serves in the match and also didn’t allow No. 6 Summerland to get into any kind of rhythm during a 25-14, 25-12, 25-20 win Thursday at Lincoln Southwest.
The win puts GICC into the state semifinals with a matchup with No. 1 Superior at 3 p.m. Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Crusaders had four different servers record an ace, with Lauryn Willman and Courtney Toner each leading the way with three.
When Central Catholic wasn’t getting ace serves, the Bobcats passed over freeballs which allowed a few easy Crusader attacks. GICC coach Sharon Zavala said she was pleased with the serving.
“I thought the kids did a great job of hitting the areas that we wanted. We didn’t miss that many and we had a lot of ace serves,” Zavala said. “We had all kinds of different kinds of serving. We have slow float and knuckle ball serves. We had a lot of kids who served well for us tonight.”
Summerland coach Sue Funk said GICC’s serving made it difficult.
“They served aggressive and I told the players before the match whoever served and passed the best was going to have success. They definitely served better,” Funk said.
Summerland is a co-op school with Ewing, Clearwater and Orchard. Ewing finished as state runner-up in Class D-2 the past two years. But with the move to C-2, the speed of the game caught the Bobcats out of system as well as they committed 14 hitting errors and five net violations.
“We got caught in transition a few times and this is a much faster pace going from D-2 to C-2,” Funk said.
Toner broke open a close first set with a 5-0 run with two ace serves to close it out. Then in the second set, Willman had back to back ace serves to put the Crusaders up 20-9 and never looked back.
Summerland showed some heart in the third in taking a 9-7 lead. However an Allison Kalvoda kill gave serve back to GICC, who went on a 7-1 run with libero Kate McFarland getting two ace serves for a 14-10 lead.
The Bobcats did fight back to within 15-14, but back-to-back kills from Avery Kalvoda, followed by Willman’s two ace serves gave GICC a 19-14 lead and as the Crusaders slowly pulled away to the sweep. Allison Kalvoda and Chloe Cloud had back-to-back kills to end the match.
Allison Kalvoda led the Crusaders with nine kills, while Gracie Woods and Avery Kalvoda each had six. Willman and McFarland each led the defense with 12 digs and Katie Maser had 20 assists.
Now GICC (26-5) gets a rematch with Superior Friday. The Crusaders earned a sweep at the first match of the season. Nebraska recruit Kalynn Meyer and younger sister Shayla each had 27 kills in the Wildcats four-set win over Wisner-Pilger earlier in the day.
“We know who the ball is going to go to,” Zavala said. “That won’t be a secret so we’ll have to serve well because we’re not going to match up with them as far as those two girls. We just need to keep going at them.”
Tiana Thramer led Summerland (28-6) with nine kills while Ashley Koenig added six. Setter Kra Nilson dished out 24 assists.