GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Being the No. 1 seed hasn't been kind to teams in this year's state volleyball tournament.
Entering the Class D-1 final, O'Neill St. Mary's was the lone top seed to have a chance at winning a state title.
The Cardinals beat Bruning-Davenport/Shickley 25-17, 22-25, 25-17, 25-19 for their first volleyball championship in school history Saturday at the Heartland Events Center.
“These girls have worked so hard,” St. Mary's coach Nicole Renshaw said. “These seniors have had this dream for four years. You can't even put words to it. The girls knew they wanted to win.”
St. Mary's broke a 15-15 tie and closed out the first set with a 10-2 run. The Cardinals scored the final four points of the set, getting two kills from Justine Blumenstock. Brooke Bauer put down a kill on the final rally.
The Cardinals led 19-14 in the second set before BDS capitalized on St. Mary's attacking miscues down the stretch. The Eagles took their first lead since the early stages of the set at 23-22 after the Cardinals were called for two hits. Following an attacking error by St. Mary's, a kill by Christy Swartzendruber helped BDS even the match.
The score was tied at 12 in the third set before St. Mary's grabbed control with a 5-0 run, capped off with a kill by Bauer.
A kill by Swartzendruber pulled the Eagles to within 18-15, but St. Mary's finished the set on a 7-2 run as BDS committed three hitting errors down the stretch.
St. Mary's trailed 12-9 in the fourth set before going on a 5-0 run, with the last two points scored on BDS hitting errors. A kill by Krissy Krotter put St. Mary's up 16-15, and the Cardinals led the rest of the set, closing it out with four straight points.
Krotter recorded a team-high 14 kills for St. Mary's (33-1). Bauer and Emily Everitt followed with 10 and nine kills, respectively. Tracy Chvala and Bridget Schneider combined for 42 set assists, while Chvala also connected on two ace serves.
“The beauty of our team is that it's not about one person ever ... it's about the whole team,” Renshaw said. “We knew we had to transition and reload so that we could continue to attack.”
Swartzendruber put down 16 kills for BDS. Matyson Kleinschmidt and Jill Schroeder added seven kills apiece. Jaycie Hoins accounted for 18 set assists. The Eagles finished their season with a 30-4 record.
“We didn't pass very well,” BDS coach Dan Sorge said. “Our setters were all over the floor, which limited us in what we could do offensively. You're not going to beat good teams when you make that many serving errors and mental mistakes.”
BDS (30-4) .......................................... 17 25 17 19
O'Neill St. Mary's (33-1) .......................................... 25 22 25 25
BDS (kills-aces-blocks): Maddi Yantzie 0-0-0, Kalli Schroeder 1-0-0, Jill Schroeder 7-0-1, Catherine Mick 2-0-0, Jaycie Hoins 1-0-0, McKenna Schardt 2-0-0, Christy Swartzendruber 16-1-0, Matyson Kleinschmidt 7-0-0.
OSM: Emily Everitt 9-0-2, Sydney Hupp 6-0-2, Riley Sibbel 5-0-0, Krissy Krotter 14-1-2, Tracy Chvala 0-2-0, Brooke Bauer 10-0-1, Justine Blumenstock 8-0-1, Bridget Schneider 0-0-0.
Set assists: BDS 33 (Hoins 18, Kleinschmidt 13, Yantzie 1, Mick 1), OSM 48 (Chvala 21, Schneider 21, Blumenstock 4, Everitt 1, Sibbel 1).