A new coach took the reigns for the Nebraska Christian volleyball team this season.
And the Eagles have not missed a beat with Amy Schreiber, who stepped in for Tonya Ostrand.
Schreiber has Nebraska Christian at 17-4 and ranked No. 6 in Class D-2 by the Omaha World-Herald . With four starters, including three seniors, back from last year’s 26-5 team that qualified for the state tournament for the second straight season, Schreiber said the season is going as well as she can expect.
“It’s been really fun to watch the girls play together and help each other with their strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “Tonya built a great program during her years here and the kids want to keep that going.”
Grace Langemeier, Kendyl Jividen and Steph Strobel are the three seniors for the Eagles. Langemeier leads the way with 206 kills with a .326 hitting efficiency. She also has 143 digs. Jividen has chipped in 131 digs, while Strobel has 124, along with 24 ace serves.
“The seniors have done a great job helping me with the younger kids,” Schreiber said. “Grace is our go-to player and she seems to get us a big kill when we need one and Steph and Kendyl do a great job in the back row for us. They have great leadership before the practices and matches. It’s been great.”
The rest of the lineup has only one junior in Tenny Sebek and the rest are sophomores and a freshman.
That includes sophomore twin setters Sidney and Shelby Mchargue, who are running a 6-2 offense. Sidney leads the way with 235 set assists, while Shelby has 154.
“Those two have done a nice job for us,” Schreiber said. “We had former NC setter Carsyn Ostrand come in and help them. It’s taken a while but they are starting to find their rhythm and consistency of where to put the ball. They are gaining confidence in every match.”
Tabitha Seip is the other returning starter for the Eagles. The sophomore is second on the team in kills with 81, but has a team-high 41 ace serves and 155 digs. Sophomore Molly Griess had a team-high 40 blocks on the year, while freshman Reghan Flynn has 34 kills and 34 blocks.
“It’s been encouraging to know that we have youth who will be willing to step in for Grace, Kendyl and Steph when they graduate,” Schreiber said. “Reghan continues to get better as a hitter and blocking. Tabitha and Molly both had varsity experience under their belt entering the season and that has been good too.”
While getting back to the state tournament for the third-consecutive year is a goal for Nebraska Christian, they do want to keep another piece of tradition alive by winning the Goldenrod Conference Tournament for the sixth-straight season. The Eagles are the No. 1 seed in the tourney as they play the Spalding Academy and Elba winner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The tournament will move to Cedar Rapids Saturday.
The Eagles are one of three teams that are ranked. Humphrey St. Francis is the second seed and is ranked No. 5 in D-2, and Central Valley is the No. 3 seed and No. 10 in Class D-1.
“The girls have won the tournament the past five years and they want to keep that going,” Schreiber said. “It won’t be easy as there are many good teams like Central Valley, Burwell, Humphrey St. Francis and others. It’s going to be a challenge but I think the girls are looking forward to it.”
Goldenrod Conference Tournament
At home sites (top four seeds)
At Nebraska Christian
Spalding Academy vs. Elba, 5 p.m.
SA-ELBA winner vs. Nebraska Christian, 6:30 p.m.
Burwell vs. Fullerton, 6:30 p.m.
At Humphrey St. Francis
Heartland Lutheran vs. St. Edward, 5 p.m.
HL-STE winner vs. Humphrey St. Francis, 6 p.m .
At Central Valley
Riverside vs. Palmer, 5 p.m .
RIV-PAL winner vs. Central Valley, 6:30 p.m.
At Cedar Rapids
Semifinals, 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Third-place match, 1 p.m.
Championship, 2:30 p.m.
Northwest to host Central Conference Tourney
Northwest will be this year’s host of the Central Conference Tournament.
The Vikings will host both days as they are the No. 2 seed in the tournament.
They host Lexington at 5 p.m. and Seward at 7 p.m. Thursday.
The final day will be at Northwest. The Vikings will play Schuyler at 11 a.m. and York at 1 p.m.
The championship is set for 4 p.m.
Central Conference Tournament
at Columbus Lakeview
Columbus Lakeview vs. Crete; Aurora vs. Holdrege, 5 p.m.
Adams Central vs. Holdrege; Aurora vs. Crete, 6 p.m.
Columbus Lakeview vs. Adams Central, 7 p.m.
Northwest vs. Lexington; York vs. Schuyler, 5 p.m.
Seward vs. Schuyler; York vs. Lexington, 6 p.m.
Northwest vs. Seward, 7 p.m.
Seward vs. York; Adams Central vs. Aurora, 10 a.m.
Northwest vs. Schuyler; Columbus Lakeview vs. Holdrege, 11 a.m.
Seward vs. Lexington; Adams Central vs. Crete, noon
Northwest vs. York; Columbus Lakeview vs. Aurora, 1 p.m.
Lexington vs. Schuyler.
Crete vs. Holdrege, 2 p.m.
Third place match (Pool A No. 2 vs. Pool B No. 2); Fifth-place match (Pool A No. 3 vs. Pool B No. 3), 3 p.m.
Championship (Pool A No. 1 vs. Pool B No. 1), 4 p.m.
Note to area coaches
Next week will be the last All-Area leaders of the regular season.
Marc Zavala covers prep volleyball for The Independent.