GRAND ISLAND — Giltner shook off its 3-0 district championship loss to Bertrand, rebounding for a 25-15, 25-13, 25-17 victory over Leyton on Thursday morning in first-round play of the Class D-2 state volleyball tournament at Grand Island Central Catholic High School.
After seeing the No. 2-rated Hornets (29-2) have a particularly strong week of practice, Giltner coach Kurt Polt said he wasn't too surprised by his team's bounce-back performance.
“We've seen this all week in practice,” Polt said. “The girls have come out with their heads up and really had positive attitudes. I thought we had a great week of practice and this morning, it looked like it carried over.”
The win advanced Giltner into Friday's 2 p.m. semifinal at Grand Island Senior High School. The Hornets will face the winner of a first-round match between No. 3 Mead (26-5) and No. 4 Sterling (25-7).
Darby Hinrichs had 15 kills, 12 digs and two aces to lead Giltner, while teammate Dani Most had 11 kills, seven digs and two aces. Jaclyn Happold had a match-high 35 assists for the Hornets, who also got six kills apiece from Kelbie Lyon and Gussie Rhoades.
Giltner had a 20-1 advantage in ace serves. Happold led with seven aces and Madison Omel had five for the Hornets.
“Madison Omel did a great job at the service line and got the first and second sets started off really well for us,” Polt said. “I thought Kelbie swung as well as she had all year and Gussie really chipped in on the left side, too. She had some kills at some big times where we needed to get a point and she came through.”
Kelsey Waite had nine kills and seven digs to lead Leyton (30-3). Katy Ernest had 21 assists and Kassandra Harris had 10 digs for the Warriors.
“I actually think we might be more balanced because we have five hitters, but Giltner's hitters were dynamic players that just take control of the game,” Leyton coach Jodi Craig said. “I think that was the difference. I don't think we played poorly, but it was just that every opportunity (Giltner) got, they capitalized on.”
Giltner (29-2)...........................25 25 25
Leyton (30-3)..........................15 13 17
G (kills-aces-blocks): Darby Hinrichs 15-2-1, Sarah Most 0-1-0, Shelby Hinrichs 0-0-1, Madison Omel 0-5-0, Jaclyn Happold 0-7-0, Dani Most 11-2-2, Kelbie Lyon 6-0-0, Gussie Rhoades 6-3-0. Totals 38-20-4.
L: Kelsey Waite 9-0-1, Whitney Goeman 0-0-0, Shaela Jenkins 3-0-1, Carly Rushman 0-0-0, Diedra Waite 2-0-1, Kaitlyn Berner 4-1-0, Kassandra Harris 4-0-1, Katy Ernest 1-0-0, Dani McKay 0-0-0. Totals 23-1-4.
Set assists: G 35 (Happold 35); L 21 (Ernest 21).