Here are my thoughts and picks for the upcoming state volleyball tournament.
There are going to be some very dandy semifinal matches on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
So without further ado, here are my thoughts and picks.
It’s hard to believe that a first-round match might decide the championship. It has happened before in the state tournament and I think it might happen this year in Class A. With what happened to Millard North a few weeks ago with the Mustangs forfeiting some matches because of an ineligible player has the defending champs as the No. 8 seed. They take on Papillion-LaVista, who has been ranked No. 1 all season long. But I’m sure other teams like Elkhorn South, who has played very strong in its first season in Class A, Papillion-LaVista South, who has given Papillion-LaVista its only loss, and others who might have something to say. I’m going to say Papillion-LaVista survives a first-round scare from the defending champs but will get their first state title since the days of Gina Mancuso back in 2008.
Papillion-LaVista over Millard North (3-2)
Gretna over Millard West (3-1)
Elkhorn South over Papillion-LaVista South (3-2)
Lincoln Pius X over Millard South (3-1)
Papillion-LaVista over Gretna (3-0)
Elkhorn South over Lincoln Pius X (3-1)
Papillion-LaVista over Elkhorn South (3-1)
Sleeper: Millard North
How can you not pick Omaha Skutt in this one? The four-time defending Class B champions have four D-1 recruits, including one that is hurt, and lots of very good young talent. One of those recruits include Nebraska recruit Lindsay Krause, who was on the USA youth national team. But a few people have told me that if there is one team that has a chance to beat Skutt, it’s Waverly. The Vikings have put together a great season so far. A few other teams like Norris, Platteview, Sidney and Duchesne might want to be part of the talk as well. But I say Skutt will bring home their fifth straight title this week.
Omaha Skutt over Hastings (3-0)
Norris over Platteview (3-0)
Waverly over Northwest (3-0)
Duchesne over Sidney (3-1)
Omaha Skutt over Norris (3-0)
Waverly over Duchesne (3-0)
Omaha Skutt over Waverly (3-1)
St. Paul comes into the state tournament with probably the best regular season anyone in the state has ever had. The Wildcats are not only a perfect 33-0 but have not dropped a set this season. That’s remarkable. But Class C-1 is very well balanced as there are three players with over 500 kills with Lincoln Lutheran’s Marriah Buss, Wahoo’s Mya Larsen and Wayne’s Lauren Pick, another one with over 400 in Broken Bow’s Majesta Valasek and numerous others with over 200 and 300 kills. Look for the matchup with two-time defending champion Wahoo and Lincoln Lutheran to be one very dandy semifinal match if that is the case Friday. And Broken Bow is having one of its best seasons ever. It’s going to be a challenge for St. Paul to win, especially against the winner of Wahoo and Lincoln Lutheran match in the final if the Wildcats make it that far. But I’ll say St. Paul won’t finish the season undefeated in sets but somehow will find a way to finish the season undefeated in matches.
St. Paul over Battle Creek (3-1)
Broken Bow over Wayne (3-2)
Wahoo over Norfolk Catholic (3-0)
Lincoln Lutheran over Chadron (3-0)
St. Paul over Broken Bow (3-1)
Wahoo over Lincoln Lutheran (3-2)
St. Paul over Wahoo (3-2)
Sleeper: Battle Creek
Everyone is probably saying this class is going to be a three-team race with Hastings St. Cecilia, Superior and Grand Island Central Catholic, who all have had very strong seasons. But there are other teams that have a chance to make some noise. Bishop Neumann is having another great season after dropping down to C-2 and Summerland has the experience of playing at the state tournament as most of the players were part of Ewing’s state runner-up teams the past two years. Lutheran High Northeast is doing well this year, Wisner-Pilger has one of the best coaches in the state in longtime coach Jean Groth and Arcadia-Loup City is a very experienced team with a lot of seniors. I see GICC and Superior being a dandy of a match if that is the semifinal matchup on Friday. Hard to go against Kaylnn Meyer and Superior but I see the traditional powerhouses in St. Cecilia and GICC playing for the title Saturday. I think St. Cecilia’s postseason experience and success in other sports helps them find success this week.
Hastings St. Cecilia over Arcadia-Loup City (3-0)
Bishop Neumann over Lutheran High Northeast (3-1)
Superior over Wisner-Pilger (3-0)
GICC over Summerland (3-1)
St. Cecilia over Neumann (3-1)
GICC over Superior (3-2)
St. Cecilia over GICC (3-2)
At the start of the season, Diller-Odell was probably the safest pick in everyone predictions. But not so fast. Defending champion Archbishop Bergan has put together a strong resume against a very tough schedule that included some Class A schools. Pleasanton, CWC and Overton have played well against strong opponents as well. Look for some pretty dandy semifinal matches on Friday. But I’ll still say Diller-Odell finds a way to win the title on Saturday.
Pleasanton over Central Valley (3-0)
Bergan over Overton (3-1)
Diller-Odell over HRTS (3-0)
CWC over Hartington CC (3-2)
Pleasanton over Bergan (3-2)
Diller-Odell over CWC (3-1)
Diller-Odell over Pleasanton (3-1)
Sleeper: Hartington CC
Everyone is probably expecting a third matchup of the season with Lawrence-Nelson and Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the D-2 final on Saturday. I’ll admit, I am too, especially after Lawrence-Nelson defeated BDS in last week’s D2-6 subdistrict match in Aurora. But other have put together strong seasons. Wynot has postseason success from what they did at state basketball last year. Humphrey St. Francis always has strong athletic programs as well and are always at the state volleyball tournament. And the same can be said about Giltner. They have great athletes from their track and field success. I’ll say Lawrence-Nelson and BDS will play for the title after getting by some difficult tests at the state tournament, but this time, defending champion BDS will get it done for the second-straight season.
Lawrence-Nelson over Giltner (3-2)
Humphrey St. Francis over Garden County (3-0)
Wynot over Sacred Heart (3-1)
BDS over Bertrand (3-0)
Lawrence-Nelson over Humphrey St. Francis (3-0)
BDS over Wynot (3-2)
BDS over Lawrence-Nelson (3-2)