It pays to have previous state tournament experience.
That previous experience showed late in Class B No. 3 Norris’ 25-14, 15-25, 27-25, 25-23 win over fifth-ranked Platteview in the opening round of the state volleyball tournament Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Titans overcame a pair of deficits -- they trailed 21-18 in the third set and 23-21 in the fourth -- to advance to a Friday semifinal against top-ranked and four-time defending champion Omaha Skutt at 7 p.m. at PBA.
“We put ourselves in position to win those sets, we just fell short,” Platteview coach Shae Spetch said. “We don’t have a lot of experience in these big games and Norris does. They are a good team and really put pressure on us at the end.”
The Titans leaned on veterans as well as a freshman down the stretch. Senior libero Molly Ramsey, a Kansas State commit, came up big with a kill on a roll shot to finish off a competitive third set. Freshman outside hitter Gracie Kircher contributed two big kills to fuel Norris in the set's late stages.
Junior right side Brianna Stai hammered a key kill in the fourth set to tie the score at 20 apiece. Kircher’s kill cut the lead to 23-22, and her ace block sandwiched around a pair of Trojans’ hitting errors closed the deal.
“You know I think them being here before helped,” Norris coach Christina Boesiger said of her kids. “Bri, Ella (Waters), Kalli (Kroeker) Molly, Masie (Boesiger), Maddie (Clauss)…we have a good mix that have been here before and had a taste of it. I thought they did a really nice job.”
Kircher led the Titans with 15 kills which Kroeker chipped in 11. Boesiger dished out 45 assists, while Ramsey tallied 27 digs.
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After a first round exit at state last year, Coach Boesiger said her team is looking forward to sticking around.
“The goal is to play on Saturday,” she said. “We knew this first game was needed to have that happen. They’re super-excited.”
Omaha Skutt awaits the Titans in Friday’s semifinals following a dominating 25-2, 25-5, 25-6 win over No. 7 Hastings.
The top-ranked SkyHawks raced to a 21-0 lead in the opening set as Nebraska commit Lindsay Krause pounded seven of her match-high 13 kills in the frame.
SkyHawks setter Allison Gray contributed 39 assists and Cameron Cartwright added 10 kills.
“We served well, we passed well, we might have had a record for hitting efficiency,” SkyHawks coach Renee Saunders said.
As is the goal each year, Saunders said her team’s goal is to play is best match at the very end of the season.
“Our goal this year is to peak at this time and play our best volleyball.”