WAVERLY -- Third-seeded Beatrice pushed second-seeded Norris to the brink Tuesday night in the B-4 Subdistrict semifinal, but the Lady Titans prevailed in the fifth set.
Norris won the match 18-25, 25-14, 20-25, 27-25, 15-12 over Beatrice at Waverly High School.
With the win, the Lady Titans advanced to the B-4 Subdistrict Final where they fell to top-seeded Waverly in five sets 25-21, 17-25, 13-25, 26-24, 15-9.
Neither Beatrice or Norris have enough wildcard points to qualify for Saturday's district final round, so both seasons came to an end.
It was less than a week ago that Beatrice got swept in two sets by Norris in a regular season triangular. The Lady O showed early Tuesday night they wouldn't be a pushover, claiming the first set from Norris 25-18.
"I was really proud of how the girls showed up," said Beatrice coach Cara Williams. "I wasn't sure how tonight would go, but we wanted to leave it all out on the court and they really came out and did that right away."
The set was highlighted by a run of five straight ace serves by junior Ally Thavenet, which took Beatrice's lead from 12-11 to 17-11. Norris would get back to within two at 17-15, but the Lady O proved to be too much down the stretch.
"The girls just kept fighting in that first set," Williams said. "We got those five ace serves in a row and they just kept building off that momentum."
Norris controlled the second set from the beginning, jumping out to an early 7-2 lead. A 7-0 run later in the set extended Norris' lead to 21-8 and they were able to coast to the 25-14 win from there.
Beatrice's exploded out to a 6-1 lead in the third set. Norris would reduced the lead to 6-4, but the Lady O took control after that. With score 12-7, they went on a 4-0 run to make it 16-7 and another 4-0 run later in the set made it 21-10.
Norris got to within four again at 24-20, but a kill by Devyn Burroughs put the set away 25-20, giving the Lady O a 2-1 lead in the match.
"Again, it was great how the girls were able to bounce back from that loss in set two and keep fighting," Williams said.
The fourth set went back and forth with neither team leading by more than three points the entire set.
Norris was serving for set point at 24-21, but three straight points by Beatrice tied the set at 24-24. The Lady Titans served for set point two more times, finally putting it away the second time 27-25, forcing a fifth set.
It was a race to 15 in the fifth set and neither team gained more than a one point advantage early, but with the score tied 7-7, Norris went on a 5-0 run to take a 12-7 lead.
Beatrice wasn't done yet, though. Blocks by Kacie Heidbrink and Jessica Fujan, an ace serve by Thavenet and a Norris error got Beatrice within one at 12-11.
Norris would score three of the next four points, though, to claim the set 15-12 and the match 3-2.
Burroughs led the way for Beatrice with 21 kills while Ally Thavenet had 16 kills.
"Those girls were definitely our go-to players tonight to get that side out," Williams said.
Jessica Fujan and Kacie Heidbrink had five kills each while Monica Fujan had two kills and McKenzie Osborne had one kill. Osborne had 28 assists in the match.
Thavenet had 12 ace serves in the match, which is a new school record. Ava Lovitt had three ace serves and Haley Sexton and Jessica Fujan had two ace serves each.
Defensively, Jessica Fujan had four blocks, Monica Fujan and Kacie Heidbrink had three blocks each and Devyn Burroughs had one block. Thavenet had 21 digs and Sexton had 15 digs.
Ayesiah Deveaux led Norris with 14 kills while Nyah Chambers had 11 kills and Kalli Kroeker had six kills. Michaela Boon dished out 37 assists.
Beatrice's season ends after posting a 14-16 record.
"It was an exciting first year for me," Williams said. "Our team had some success in the middle of the season and these girls are young. They're learning and I see a lot of growth in the years to come and I'm excited to see what the future holds."
It was the last match for four Beatrice seniors, Haley Sexton, Jessica Fujan, Monicaz Fujan and Kacie Heidbrink.
"I've only got to know these girls this season, but they were an amazing set of girls," Williams said. "They were really great leaders and I'm excited to see what they do in their futures."
Waverly outlasts Norris in five sets
WAVERLY — For the third time this year, Waverly took a winner-take-all set against Norris.
This time, the season was on the line and the Vikings delivered a come from behind classic, winning the B-4 subdistrict 25-21, 17-25, 13-25, 26-24, 15-9 on Tuesday at Waverly High School.
“I feel like we were the mouse, and Norris was the cat, and the mouse played with the cat, but the mouse escaped. That is what I feel like right now,” Waverly coach Terri Neujahr said after the win.
If it wasn’t for a collapse in the first set, Norris would have had a clean sweep of the Vikings. Back-to-back ace serves from sophomore Madalyn Clauss gave the Titans a 17-12 lead, and Waverly coach Terri Neujahr called timeout.
After that break, the Vikings came roaring back to life, ending the set on a 13-4 run to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Down a set, the Titans began to get Ayesiah Deveaux plenty of attacking chances and it paid off. Deveaux finished with 15 kills in the match.
That plan paid off in the second set, as Norris built up a 19-11 lead and this time didn’t look back. A Kennedy VanScoy service error gave the Titans the second set 25-17, and that momentum carried into the third set.
Norris dominated the third set, behind Deveaux and Nyah Chambers, and took the 25-13 win.
It looked like Norris was going to steal the fourth set as well, as the Titans went on a run to take a 21-16 lead late in the fourth set. Waverly couldn’t figure it out, as Norris led 24-21 and had three chances at a match point.
Again, the Vikings responded.
“When we were down, I was thinking we really got to get up and going,” Waverly outside hitter Kelsey Perrotto said. “I’m just really proud of my team for picking it up and just finding a way to win.”
Three straight points, and two kills by Perrotto, tied up the fourth set at 24 a piece. Waverly capped off the perfect 5-0 run on an attacking error by Deveaux, and the Vikings took the chaotic fourth set.
“We were regrouped and ready to go in the fifth, we thought,” Norris coach Christina Boesiger said, “We had all of our chances in the fourth set, and we just could not finish.”
The Vikings controlled the fifth set from the very beginning, jumping out to a 8-4 lead early and not letting Norris back in it. When Deveaux’s swing went wide on match point, Waverly took the fifth set 15-9 and won the B-4 subdistrict to advance to Saturday's district finals.
Tyza Hoos led Waverly with 18 kills and Perotto added 17. Chambers added 12 kills for Norris.
Other Subdistrict final scores
Thayer Central def. Freeman, 29-27, 29-31, 24-26, 25-18, 15-13 (3-2)
Johnson-Brock def. Diller-Odell, 25-19, 25-18, 25-19 (3-0)
Auburn def. Fairbury, 25-2, 23-25, 25-14, 25-20 (3-1)