KEARNEY — Make it three for three for Pleasanton.
The Bulldogs swept Overton 25-18, 25-17, 25-19 Thursday night to win the Fort Kearny Conference Tournament championship. It was the third straight year the two teams met in the final with the same result.
“None of them have been easy they’ve all been fun though,” Pleasanton coach Shane Nordby said..
Thursday night at Kearney Catholic’s Cope Coliseum, Overton got off the start it needed to break the trend. An early run of six points in seven rallies put the Eagles on top.
But Pleasanton found its stride.
“For the most part, Pleasanton’s very consistent,” Overton coach Haley Ryan said. “They don’t get rattled on serve receive. They have some big guns and big swingers and they can take some angles out there and they’re efficient with what they do.”
The Bulldogs dominated the second half of the first set, getting kills from five attackers to outscore the Eagles 11-4.
That momentum carried over into the second set. Pleasanton led by a margin of 20-8 at one point, assaulting the Eagles with a dozen kills, three aces and three blocks.
“We came out of the gates a little bit bad again. But we turned things around pretty quick,” Nordby said. “That was a good, solid match for most of the time. I’m happy with the way that we played beginning to end. We had some lows but we came back hard off of them and played well most of the night.”
Ryan shifted her rotation in the third set bringing Rachel Ecklund, who starts in the back row, to the front sooner.
“Rachel had a great game. She was swinging hard, staying aggressive,” Ryan said. “We just thought we’d change things up a little bit to see if maybe our middles matched up a little bit differently.”
The move paid off as Overton built a 12-7 lead. But when Pleasanton’s Katy Lindner rotated to the front row, followed by Belle Paitz, the Bulldogs’ attacking power was too much.
Lindner finished with 14 kills in the match. Paitz had 13. And Chelsea Fisher had eight — four in the last set — to go with four blocks.
“Chelsea at the net was key for us. She blocked a lot of balls and she made a difference for us,” Nordby said. “She had a big third set, a huge third set. Without her, I don’t know if we win that set.”
Ecklund led Overton with 11 kills. Haley Fleishman had nine kills, but none in the third set.
“I thought we came out strong (in the third set) and just couldn’t quite get the win. When you have Fisher, Lindner and Paitz on the front row, it’s tough to get through the block. It’s just something you have to strategize and make sure you’re taking your angles and you have to stay aggressive. But they’re scrappy and they can swing. They’re just a pretty solid team and it’s difficult to find the holes at times.”
Elm Creek takes third
Elm Creek reeled off nine straight points to win the first set and went on to sweep Axtell 25-21, 25-15, 25-21 in the third-place game at the FKC Tournament.
Ashley Brown led the Buffs with 11 kills, while Maci McCarter had five kills and three ace serves. Elm Creek also tallied 10 blocks, led by Haley Stone with four and Avery Sindt with three.
Erica Bertrand led Axtell with seven kills and Nicole Cederburg and Paige Lindau had six each. Jacey Smidt logged four ace serves.
Stars swept by Broken Bow
BROKEN BOW — Broken Bow swept Kearney Catholic 25-20, 25-20, 25-21 Thursday night in Broken Bow.
The Stars finished with 28 kills, nine by Ashley Keck, six by Bailey Spangler and five each by Sarah Clinch and Jillian Collins
Kamryn David and Jenna Kruse had two ace serves apiece.
Bertrand takes Kenesaw in four
KENESAW — Macie Steinbrink had 14 kills to lead Bertrand to a 25-19, 25-12, 18-25, 25-17 win over Kenesaw.
Johanna Ford and Aleya Hueftle added eight kills apiece and Jada High served up seven aces. Setter Erin Boggs assisted on 39 of the team’s 45 kills.