Early last week, Arcadia-Loup City went through a series of strong emotions.
The Red Raiders suffered a five-set loss to Centura in the Class C-2, Subdistrict 10 Tournament and thought their season was over.
Early the next day, Arcadia-Loup City found out that it had just edged out Oakland-Craig for the final wild card spot for a district final match.
The No. 7 Rebels didn’t waste their second chance as they swept past No. 8 Ponca in the C2-5 final Saturday to earn a berth into the state tournament.
Arcadia-Loup City takes on No. 2 and top-seeded Hastings St. Cecilia at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Southwest.
“We were in an emotional wreck with the seniors thinking their careers were over,” ALC coach Dusti VanSlyke said. “Then when the power points got updated later that night, we found out we were ahead of Oakland-Craig but we still had to wait until the next day to make sure they were official.”
And the Rebels took care of business by winning the first two really close sets 25-23 and 32-30 before taking the third 25-18 to secure a spot into the state tournament for the second time as a co-op.
“We just told the girls there’s nothing to lose,” VanSlyke said. “Do we want to feel the way we did on Tuesday or do you want to be excited and play in Lincoln next week? The girls really played well.”
Nine seniors will continue their careers in Lincoln this week. VanSlyke said it was a goal of theirs for a while.
“They have done a lot for our program over the years,” she said. “They’ve wanted this ever since I started coaching them in third grade. I’m glad that they accomplished their main goal.”
Nadia VanSlyke, Dusti’s daughter, does a lot for Rebels as she has 810 assists with 122 kills and a team-high 46 ace serves.
“Nadia knows the game and knows what’s going on on the other side of the floor,” the coach said. “She’s just that leader that everyone seems to turn to and if something is not going well, she’s going to change it in some way, whether it’s her making a play or changing the offense or helping the players on defense.”
Senior Calli Bauer leads the way with 317 kills, while Capri Dethlefs has 240 kills and 44 ace serves. Creighton Harrington leads the defense with 308 digs, while Mariah Markus has chipped in 159.
Coach VanSlyke also gave credit to Shaylee Chilewski, McKenna Cruikshank, Ashley Chileswki, Shany Gappa and junior Lindsi Loos, who all have contributed in some way for ALC.
“We play around 11 players and every one of them has done a great job of contributing in some way, especially the seniors,” coach VanSlyke said. “They know their role very well and if we are going to be successful, they’ll do their job.”
As for playing St. Cecilia, VanSlyke knows what the Rebels are up against. The Hawkettes, who have won seven state championships and two state runner-up finishes, have five players with over 150 kills and over 200 digs and four players that are over 5-foot-10.
“They are a very well-rounded team with great athletes,” VanSlyke said. “We played them in the Kearney Catholic Top 10 team camp during the summer. I’m sure they’ve grown a bit since then and we have as well. I feel if we play up to our potential, it should be a good game Thursday.”