LINCOLN -- There will be a new state volleyball champion in Class C-2.
No. 1 Hartington Cedar Catholic knocked off defending champion and No. 3 Stanton 25-22, 25-18, 22-25, 25-18 Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena to advance to Saturday's 1 p.m. championship.
“I was nervous, just knowing each other so well,” Hartington CC coach Denae Buss said. The Trojans beat Stanton 2-1 at the Stanton Tournament on Sept. 16.
If there were any nerves for the Trojans, they didn’t show early on. They got out to a 6-0 lead in the first set and led 12-1 at one point. The Mustangs closed the gap and tied it at 20 on a kill by Bree Burtwistle, but Hartington CC stayed the course and closed out the set on a 5-2 run.
The second set was tight as well, with the Mustangs leading 16-15 before the Trojans took charge to win 25-18.
Stanton jumped out to a 15-9 lead in set three before Hartington CC rallied to make it 24-22. Hannah Heppner came up with the decisive kill to end the set at 25-22.
Hartington CC’s balanced offensive attack helped to tip the final set in its favor.
“We know we have six girls we can rely on,” Buss said.
Brianna Miller recorded 10 kills and Anna Reifenrath had nine. Jade Cattau registered eight kills and 12 digs. Madison Wieseler dished out 21 assists and added 13 digs. Ashley Hamilton finished with 14 assists and 14 digs. Madalyn Arens notched 17 digs and Sydney Steffen had 13.
Hartington CC led 14-10 in the final set and both teams appeared to tighten up as the conclusion drew near. The teams traded three consecutive service errors. It appeared to be headed for a fourth when Wieseler’s serve scraped the net, but dropped on the other side for an ace.
Then the Trojans had match point, leading 24-15 before Stanton rallied for three points. After a timeout, Miller slammed home the match-clinching kill, and the celebration was on for a team that lost in the first round last year as the eighth seed.
Hartington CC (34-0) will face Superior in the championship match Saturday at the Devaney Sports Center.
“We just have to go after it and do the things we normally do,” Buss said of the final.
Jessie Brandl finished with 21 kills and 18 digs for Stanton (30-4), who will face Nebraska Christian in the consolation match at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lincoln Southeast.