Omaha Westside avenged a loss from over the weekend in dominant fashion, sweeping Papillion-La Vista 25-20, 25-17, 25-20 to improve to 9-7.
The Monarchs took down the Warriors 2-1 during the Allison Weston Invitational at Papillion-La Vista on Saturday. Omaha Westside is now 2-1 against the Monarchs (12-10) this season. The Warriors have faced a tough schedule with five of their losses coming to top-10 teams in Omaha Skutt, Lincoln Southwest (twice), Gretna and the Monarchs, but Coach Korrine Bowers called Tuesday their most complete performance of the season.
“It was a long time coming,” Bowers said. “We’ve been working hard with everything that we do can’t just be our athleticism or our athletic ability or the type of the volleyball players we are because there’s no doubt when you look at the floor, we look like volleyball players. But we’ve got to put it together from the shoulders above, and we definitely did that tonight. This is the first time I actually saw a full match where the whole team put it together. So I’m just a proud coach right now.”
Westside won the serve and pass battle all night as the Monarchs had a tough time staying in system. Sophomore setter Reagan Hickey had to scramble all over the court to get under the ball and as a result, Papillion-La Vista’s top attackers hit for a low percentage across the board.
“Anytime we had to call a time out, it wasn’t because we weren’t driving the ball on our serve or we weren’t bettering the ball,” Bowers said. “We really talked about, in out-of-system, where we wanted to put that ball to get them out of system and then really focusing on our setters driving that ball to the seams and sidelines.”
Senior Montana State commit Madilyn Siebler led the attack early and finished with an unofficial 13 kills plus four blocks and an ace. Siebler has seen her role change during the season but stepped up on Tuesday.
“She had a complete game,” Bowers said. “I’ll be honest with you, she was our setter at the beginning of the year, has transitioned now to a right side, outside pin hitter, and I will say, the kid came in and showed some grit, made great plays and really just dominated as a senior captain.”
Jocelyn Healy has slid into the setter role with Siebler focusing on attacking. The Warriors also got a big performance from junior outside hitter Destiny Ndam-Simpson. Ndam-Simpson transferred from Bellevue West and is leading the Warriors in kills this season. She matched Siebler with 13 kills on over .400 hitting and added a couple of blocks.
“She’s a very smart player,” Bowers said. “You can tell it’s taken her a while to get to know the girls on the team, but Destiny’s a gamer, man. I told her before the match, ‘You came ready to play today. I can tell by your face, I can tell by the way you’re walking, you’re moving.’ She played great, she hit a lot of smart shots out of the system, but she knew when to put the heat on it too. She’s made a huge impact for our team, all the way around, six rotations.”
The lead changed hands a few times early as the teams traded 5-0 runs. After fives ties, Westside pushed ahead with a 3-0 run. Papillion-La Vista cut the deficit to one at 20-19, but Westside ended the set on a 5-1 run capped by an ace from Samantha Laird. Sibeler had seven kills in the first set.
Westside took control early in set two, jumping out to a 9-3 lead, but the Monarchs rallied with a 5-0 run. The teams traded sideouts from there until Westside blew the game open with an 8-0 run including an ace by senior Anna Snodgrass.
“Props to Anna for coming in,” Bowers said. “She comes in cold off the bench, and that’s her job is to come in as a serving specialist. She has struggled in the past with getting runs, and I couldn’t be prouder of her. This is something she’s worked on in practice. She usually plays more like a left back position, but I realized she’s more comfortable middle back. So I was like ‘You know, maybe if she’s not so worried about defense she’ll serve better, and that’s what she did tonight. Again, seniors stepping up to the challenge and that’s what I wanted, was our seniors to go in and really make an impact.”
Junior Karli Ahlers saved two set points for Papillion-La vIsta with back-to-back kills but Siebler ended it with a kill on the next point.
Westside took the lead early again in set three at 6-3, but the Monarchs flipped the game around with a big run to pull ahead 10-7. After a timeout, Westside regrouped and ripped off a 4-0 run to retake the lead. After ties at 11-11, 12-12 and 13-13, Snodgrass served a mini-run including two more aces to give the Warriors a 17-13 advantage.
Papillion-La Vista cut the deficit to two at 18-16 and 22-20 but could get no closer as Westside ended the match with a 3-0 run. Laird sealed the match with her third ace of the match.
Senior Anna Sis came alive in the third set to lead the Monarchs with 11 kills while Ahlers chipped in eight.
Westside will return to the court on Thursday to face Lincoln North Star while Papillion-La Vista will host Millard South.
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.