Birthday girls Maisie Boesiger and Gracie Kircher spoiled Elkhorn South’s Senior Night on Tuesday as last year’s Class B runner-up took down the reigning Class A champion in five sets.
Norris won at Elkhorn South 25-20,22-25, 15-25, 25-9, 15-11 to improve to 7-0.
“Definitely a huge win for our girls,” Norris coach Christina Boesiger said. “This early in the season, we have an old but yet a young team. We have some new players in big roles this year and we have experienced players also doing a great job. I think for them to come in here on their home court, they were fearless. Every day in practice they just want more and they want more. I couldn’t be more proud of them. I feel like they made some key adjustments on the go; we haven’t had to do that yet so far. So this was a true test.”
Maisie Boesiger, a 2022 Nebraska commit, controlled the action all right for the Titans as Norris out-hit the Storm .252 to .179. She finished with 45 assists, 23 digs, five kills and three aces.
“Oh man, it was awesome,” said Christina Boesiger, Maisie’s mom. “She can go on those runs. Sometimes we have to dial her back in because she’s just gonna go hard, but she was feeling it tonight. Man, she had a great game just defensively, offensively, setting. We knew she’s capable of those runs, so super proud of her.”
Kircher, who shares a birthday with her setter, went off for a career-high 22 kills on .304 hitting, five digs and two block assists.
“She’s been playing like that all season long, just playing really, really well,” Christina Boesiger said. “Super explosive. Since day one, every day in practice, she keeps getting better and they run that dog and everyone’s eyes get bigger in practice because she’s just crushing the ball. I would say she’s playing with a lot of confidence and just really fearless.”
Senior Ella Waters, who committed to Washburn on Monday, added 18 kills, five digs and a solo block while senior Sydney Jelinek added 12 kills and three blocks (two solo). Freshman Anna Jelinek led the Titans with 30 digs and chipped in a pair of aces.
Arkansas commit Kylie Weeks posted a match-high 25 kills on .357 hitting and 21 digs. Kaitlyn Thiebauth added seven kills on .318 hitting and six blocks. Madi Woodin, a South Dakota commit, finished with 47 assists and nine digs while Estella Zatechka, a Missouri commit, posted a match-high 33 digs.
Norris used some strong serving to pull ahead 16-10 midway through the first set. Following a timeout, the Storm regrouped and tied it up with a 6-0 run capped by a pair of aces from freshman Julia Ringenberg. After trading sideouts, Norris reasserted control and closed the set on an 8-3 run.
The Titans had four aces plus another tough serve from Boesiger that led to an overpass kill in the first set.
“All of our servers are doing a really good job and we can get a lot of teams out of system,” Christina Boesiger said. “That’s going to have to be a strength of ours, we try to get them out so that our block can get set up, especially with new middle blockers. So if we can make teams be a little more predictable on serve receive it’s helping our front row as well.”
Norris used a 6-0 run to pull ahead 15-10 in the second set too, but this time the Titans couldn’t hold on as Weeks took over for the Storm. Elkhorn South used a 13-4 run to pull ahead 23-19 and finished it off from there. After recording just two kills in the first set, Weeks racked up 12 of them in the second.
“She’s very capable of that,” Christina Boesiger said about Weeks. “We made a slight adjustment on defense and just kind of went back to the whole discipline part of the game. We were kind of still moving on her contact and just keyed in on trying to be stopped, and then make a move defensive-wise. But she’s a great player.”
Elkhorn South dominated the third set, racing out to a 12-5 lead and cruising from there thanks to a strong set from Annie Millard.
Norris flipped the script in the fourth set thanks primarily to a dominant serving run from Boesiger. She served eight or nine straight points including three aces as Norris took a 12-1 lead to open the set.
“My teammates were just all over me and hugging me and their smiling, their energy, just kept me going,” Maisie Boesiger said.
Norris rolled through the rest of the set for a 16-point win, sending the match to a fifth set.
The Titans rode the momentum into game five, scoring the first five points. Elkhorn South cut the deficit to two at 7-5 but Waters stepped up with three straight kills to push the lead back to five, then Boesiger dug a Storm attack back over the net and it dropped for a kill to make it 11-5.
After trading sideouts, Elkhorn South made one last push with a 4-1 run to cut it to 13-10. After two sideouts, Boesiger found Kircher at the pin for the match-point kill.
Birthday girls Maisie Boesiger and Gracie Kircher connected on match point to seal the win.
Norris beat Elkhorn South 25-20, 22-25, 15-25, 25-9, 15-11.
— Jacob Padilla (@JacobPadilla_) September 8, 2021
“We’re birthday twins, a year different, so definitely the best birthday wish I could get,” Maisie Boesiger said. “So it was great.”
The Titans swept their first six opponents, but Maisie Boesiger said they had their eyes on the Elkhorn South match from day one because they knew it would tell them a lot about themselves, especially with their schedule starting to pick up even more in the next couple of weeks.
“We had this game in our calendar from the beginning of the season and we knew it’d be a tough one,” Maisie Boesiger said. “So, in practice, we’ve been looking forward to it, knowing that this game would be a great one to test what we’ve been building so far. To come in here and it’s their senior night and to beat them on their home court is always a great feeling, but it’s a feeling that we need to get back to the gym and keep working hard, because it doesn’t end here.”
For the Storm, the loss was the second in a row after a 4-0 start to the season. Elkhorn South fell to Millard West 2-0 in the championship match of the Heartland/Crossroads Classic on Saturday. They’ll look to rebound at Papillion-La Vista on Thursday.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.