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Padding the Stats: 2022 State Volleyball Primer

November 02, 2022

Nebraska is a volleyball state, and this week the NSAA will crown six state champions at the prep level as Lincoln plays host to the NSAA State Volleyball Championships Wednesday through Saturday.

The first three days will take place at Pinnacle Bank Arena (with two courts and two matches happening at once) before shifting to the home of the Huskers for the finals on Saturday.

“We’re excited the finals will be at Devaney, which I know is every player in the state’s dream to be able to do that,”Coach John Cook said on Tuesday. “Glad it works out that we’ll be on the road. So that’s an exciting thing for volleyball … Here’s the state tournament in Devaney — what a great venue, great crowds. You look at volleyball right now, we’ve got high school teams ranked in the top 100.”

With future Huskers littered throughout the slate, I added prep volleyball to my coverage list over the past few years. Unfortunately, the biggest matches and my schedule did not line up this season and I wasn’t able to make it to any matches during the regular season.

This year’s field includes one Nebraska commit, several other D-I pledges and a number of talented teams, and I’m looking forward to catching some of the action.

Let’s start with the future Husker. Junior libero Olivia Mauch plays for Class B’s No. 4 seed, Bennington, and leads all state tournament participants in digs with 776 (8.4 per set). She’s also second among all players in service aces with 75. PrepVolleyball.com has her ranked 26th in the 2024 class.

The Badgers (27-7) will face No. 5 Seward at 11 a.m. on the North Court at 11 a.m. Winner of that match will advance to the semis on Friday to face the winner of No. 1 Elkhorn North (30-4) and No. 8 Grand Island Northwest.

The Wolves have a lot of talent led by 2023 Purdue commit Grace Heaney, a 6-foot-2 opposite hitter ranked 17th in 2023. She’s averaging 4.5 kills per set on .337 hitting. Junior setter Reese Booth, the daughter of Creighton head volleyball coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth, is committed to Northern Iowa and is averaging 10.2 assists with a team-high 50 aces.

On the other side of the Class B bracket, No. 2 Omaha Skutt (21-4), coached by former Husker Renee Saunders, is looking for its eighth straight state title. Michigan commit Morgan Burke is the team’s top attacker with 4.1 kills per set on .329 hitting and a strong server with 65 aces. Junior libero Presley Douglas, a recent USC commit, is leading the defense with 5.0 digs per set.

The SkyHawks will face No. 7 Waverly (19-15), the program that produce current Huskers Anni Evans, Whitney Lauenstein and Beck Allick, opposite Elkhorn North and Northwest in the first game of the day on Wednesday.

The final Class B matchup will pit No. 3 Norris (28-7), the alma mater of Husker freshman Maisie Boesiger coached by her mother, Christina Boesiger, against No. 6 Sidney (28-6).

In Class A, reigning champion Papillion-La Vista South is the top seed at 30-4 and looked poised for another title run with a stacked roster. The Titans have plenty of firepower with junior South Dakota commit Lauren Medeck (4.0 kills per set on .278 hitting, 4.2 digs per set, ranked seventh nationally) and senior Hawaii committee Stella Adeyemi (3.7 kills per set on .314 hitting, ranked 53rd nationally). Junior middle blocker Morgan Bode, ranked 30th in 2024, is chipping in 2.2 kills per set on .350 hitting. Senior libero Kenzie Dyrstad, a Rutgers commit, lead the defense with 4.3 digs per set.

The Titans will face No. 8 Omaha Marian (24-13) at 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

The 4-5 matchup is Papillion-La Vista (27-9) against Lincoln East (23-10). Junior middle blocker Mia Tvrdy, ranked 56th in 2024 and committed to Oregon, is averaging 4.0 kills per set on .400 hitting to lead the Monarchs. They’ll face the Spartans in the late Window on Wednesday.

The No. 2 seed is Lincoln Southwest (30-3), who will face No. 7 Millard West led by Louisville middle blocker commit Alanna Bankston (4.2 kills per set on .319 hitting, ranked 54th in 2023). The two played a five-set thriller during the regular season and will face off again at 5 p.m.

The final Class A matchup features No. 3 Omaha Westside. The Warriors have a lot of firepower at the pins with seniors Destiny Ndam-Simpson (4.5 kills per set on .274 hitting, 4.1 digs per set, ranked 45th in 2023 and committed to Creighton) and Sam Laird (4.3 kills per set on .338 hitting, 45 aces, committed to South Dakota).

The Warriors will face No. 6 Gretna (27-9) led by junior libero Faith Frame (4.5 digs per set, ranked 74th in 2024).

Players to watch in lower classes include Diller-Odell senior Karli Heidemann (6.6 kills per set on ,478 hitting, committed to Montana State, ranked 117th), junior DC West middle blocker Nora Wurtz (4.9 kills per set on .535 hitting) and Lincoln Lutheran sophomore libero Keri Leimbach (5.0 digs per set, 64 aces, ranked 43rd in 2025).

Look for coverage of the Class B and Class A finals on Saturday night after the Husker football game.

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