KEARNEY — The smile on Kearney High volleyball coach Jessica Day’s face couldn’t have been any bigger.
The Bearcats barely had a hiccup as they swept Lincoln North Star 25-16, 25-16, 25-20 Thursday night at the Kearney High gym.
“From whistle No. 1 to the very, very end, they played pretty solid,” Day said of the Bearcats.
Kearney attacked the North Star defense for 35 kills and a .255 hitting efficiency. Kearney also scored on four ace serves and five blocks.
Middle hitters Lily Novacek and Macy Fuller led the way. Novacek had 10 kills and a block, while Fuller had three blocks and four kills.
“I’m over-the-moon pumped for my middles. My middles did a nice job containing Becka (Allick) and sticking right with them and really taking it to them offensively,” Day said.
Allick, a sophomore verbal commit to Nebraska, had nine kills and three blocks. Outside hitter Frankie Carrea added eight kills. But the Navigators only scored 29 kills.
Two new faces to the Bearcat program, transfers Sydney Province from Amherst and CJ Faz from Kearney Catholic, took care of the outside hitter chores. Province tallied eight kills and Faz had four.
Junior setter Lucy Bartee also earned high praise from the coach.
“She led our offense well. She did a great, great job,” Day said.
Kearney never trailed in the first set, and once led 22-12. But the Gators grabbed the early lead in the second set.
“Up and down and all around has sorta been our thing. We’ll play a great first set, then Set 2 might not be as good,” Day said. “The first couple points, I was like, “Well, here we go again.’ I was elated they were able to turn that around, get it back to even and then really push forward.”
Trailing 10-8 in the second set, Kearney went on a 10-1 run that included two kills by Fuller and two by Shanya Zamrzia, a block by Fuller and an ace serve by Adi Wood. The Gators never recovered.
“This is what it is. This is what it takes to put together a complete match,” Day said. “We are going to continue to have that be a foundation because if we can compete and sustain at that level, I’m really excited about the opportunities this program has moving forward from here.”
Kearney is back in action Saturday at the Norfolk Invitational.