LINCOLN – The Diller-Odell Lady Griffins fell in a five set thriller Thursday in the first round of the NSAA State Volleyball Tournament.

The sixth-seeded Grffins fell to third-seeded Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family 19-25, 28-26, 25-21, 23-25, 15-11 at Lincoln East High School.

With the win, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family advances to play in the D1 State semifinals. Diller-Odell’s season ends after posting a 26-8 record.

Diller-Odell coach Kandice Jurgens said it was a battle of two tough teams Thursday night.

“Going in, I thought we were well matched,” Jurgens said. “I’m just proud of the girls because they never gave up. WE came out really strong in the first set, but everybody got a feel for each other and then it’s just up for grabs. The best teams are at state, so every game is going to be hard, so I’m not frustrated at all with the loss.”

In the first set, Diller-Odell got off to a hot start, motoring to an early 5-0 lead. The Bulldogs would cut their deficit to one point several times, but they’d never get it tied. The Griffins won the set 25-19.

Humphrey/LHF had a 24-21 in the second set, but Diller-Odell rallied for five straight points to take a 25-24 lead. The two teams were tied at 25-25 and again at 26-26 before the Bulldogs scored two straight points to win 28-26.

Diller-Odell led 11-6 in the third set, but a run by the Bulldogs made it 12-12. The set would remain close, but with the score 21-21, Humphrey/LHF scored four straight points to win 25-21, taking a 2-1 lead in the set.

Diller-Odell fell behind 4-0 early in the fourth set, but managed to battle back. They built a 20-17 lead, but the Bulldogs came back to tie it 20-20. The game was tied at 21, 22, and 23 before Diller-Odell scored two straight to win 25-23, forcing a fifth set.

The Bulldogs exploded out to a 7-1 lead in the fifth set. Diller-Odell managed to get within one at 9-8 and then again at 10-9, but the Bulldogs would rally for the 15-11 win, taking the match 3-2.

Jurgens said Humphrey/LHF started getting them out of system with their tipping, but overall, her team didn’t capitalize on free balls.

“We couldn’t find some open shots,” Jurgens said. “Their setters frustrated us and their serve/receive was much better after that first set. But just overall, it was a matter of who was going to mess up. There were a lot of long rallies and they are just a good team overall and I wish them luck going forward.”

Diller-Odell made it to state despite losing a top attacker in senior Kirsten Bures early in the season and then Tori Smith later in the season.

“We faced a lot of obstacles this year, so to only have the losses that we had says a lot about how hard the girls work,” Jurgens said. “I’m really proud of them.”

Bures will be the only senior they lose, so Jurgens said next season could be another exciting one.

“We hate talking about the loss of Kirsten, but there are things to be excited about,” Jurgens said. “We’ve got some girls coming up who will challenge to be on the court right away, so we are looking forward to it. We hope to be back at state next year.”

Norris falls to Omaha Duchesne

By Lee Enterprises

Norris kept swinging. Omaha Duchesne kept digging.

The Class B No. 2 Cardinals stymied every Norris run with smothering defense and an aggressive offensive attack, as they advanced to the Class B semifinals with a 25-15, 25-22, 25-18 win over the fifth-ranked Titans Thursday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“I thought Duchesne played a great game,” Norris coach Christina Boesiger said. “We swung aggressively, but they just kept digging. They played very consistent.”

The Cardinals were credited with 79 digs on the match. Sophomore libero Sofia Bressani led the way with 23.

After watching the Cardinals (31-6) dominate the opening set, Boesiger’s team mounted a strong challenge in set two.

Freshman Ella Waters’ kill gave the Titans an 18-14 lead. And moments later after a Cardinals’ service error put Norris up 20-17, arguably the point of the match ensued.

A lengthy rally, which saw both teams digging up bullets from the other side, ended when Duchesne’s Mayah Delgado-Walker finally put away a kill.

The point ignited the Duchesne faithful as the Cardinals seized momentum, scoring six of the final eight points to take the set.

Cardinals coach Andrew Wehrli said his team’s composure at that point of the match was key.

“We called timeout down 18-14 in the second and just told the kids, ‘guys, we’re fine, just run the offense and stay composed.’ And after that we won that long point, and that is where it (the match) really turned.”

Boesiger agreed, saying the rally at 20-17 not going the Titans’ way was a turning point.

“Any long rally you can win gives you momentum. That was a big rally and they kind of went on a run after it.”

The Cardinals pulled away late in the third set. After a service error tied it at 13, Duchesne would hammer six kills down the stretch – three by junior middle hitter Caroline Ortman – to advance to the semifinals for the third straight year.

Delgado-Walker ended with 12 kills, while standout setter Emma Worthington handed out 36 assists.

Junior outside hitter Paige Wilkinson led the Titans with six kills.

Boesiger said despite the first-round exit, her team gained valuable experience. It was the Titans’ first trip to the state tournament since they brought home the title in 2014.

“This was a great experience for our seniors, who’ve never been down here,” Boesiger said. “Our underclassmen got to experience this and left wanting more. Our kids have a lot to be proud of. They had a great season.”

Freeman falls in first round

Freeman was the No. 8 seed in Class C2 and they fell to top-seeded Superior in four sets 25-16, 25-21, 19-25, 25-10.

Kayla Haynes led the way for Freeman with 19 kills while Josalynn Podtburg and Macy Holland had five kills each.

The Falcons' season comes to an end after posting a 21-12 record.

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