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Six Rotations: State Volleyball Rankings (October 9)

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Perfection, they sometimes like to say, is unattainable. But the Diller-Odell volleyball team was giving it the old college try. 

The Griffins were 21-0 heading into Tuesday night’s match with Class C-2, No. 6 Fillmore Central and had not lost a set so far this season. But the Panthers (16-7) upended the Griffins in a five-set thriller. 

And, by lunchtime on Wednesday, D-O Coach Kandice Jurgens had hit the reset button. 

“I think the kids were a little disappointed in the locker room last night,” the Griffin coach said. “We didn’t do a great job of making adjustments like we needed to. 

“But on the other side, we played a great opponent. And we have been playing a bunch of volleyball the past week and a half. This gave us a good wake up to show that we need to come to practice ready to go every day.”

Despite the loss, the Griffins remain No. 1 in Class D-1 in our Six Rotations rankings for the week. Other top-ranked teams are: Papillion-Lavista, Omaha Skutt, St. Paul, Hastings St. Cecilia and Lawrence-Nelson.

After returning most everyone from last year’s team that advanced to the state tournament and adding in Karli Heidemean to the mix, the Griffins had high goals for the season. As the sixth-seed at last year’s state tournament, they pushed eventual finalist Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family to the fifth set. 

“We feel like we have built our program to where state is always a goal,” Jurgens said, of her team, which played in the state finals in 2015 (D1) and 2016 (C2). “But, we also try to focus on taking things one game at a time.”

The Griffins have a mix of talent with seniors Mackenzie Vitosh (198 kills, 106 digs, 46 blocks and 32 ace serves) and Emily Swanson (105 kills). Jurgens calls Vitosh the “ultimate leader.”

“She is the player we can count on to be a leader for us on and off the court,” her coach said. 

Diller-Odell senior Mackenzie Vitosh tips the ball over in the MUDECAS Tournament A Division Championship. (nebpreps / Marcus Scheer)

Junior Addison Heideman has 424 set assists and had committed to walk-on to the Iowa State volleyball team.She leads the team with 67 ace serves. Little sister Karlie — the freshman — leads the team in kills at 223. 

“Both have played a bunch of games and have a lot of experience,” Jurgens said. “They have played a lot of club volleyball.”

Sophomore Madelyn Meyerle has 62 kills and is second on the team with 43 ace serves. Senior Kyleigh Bernts plays libero. 

After the loss, Jurgens hopes the Griffins can regain focus quickly as they’ll play HTRS (17-5) on Thursday in a triangular at Pawnee City before traveling to the Falls City Invitational this weekend. 

“We’ve got to be ready to go every time we step on the floor,” Jurgens said. “HTRS will be a big test for us and our conference tournament will be as well. If we want to be in the thick of things in Lincoln, we have to have focus and intensity starting now for the rest of the year.”

Class A

  1. Papillion-LaVista (26-0). NSAA Points: 1. Look, the Monarchs are unbeaten and barely tested (a little) here in Nebraska and ranked 13th nationally by MaxPreps. Who are we to argue. Beat Omaha Benson on Tuesday and have a triangular worth watching on Thursday with Pius X and Marian. Last week: 1.
  2. Omaha Marian (16-8). Points: 8. In a curious, “what have you done for me lately” move, we are sending Marian from unranked to second after their win at the Lincoln Northeast Invitational over the weekend. In doing so, they beat Elkhorn South, Waverly and Millard South. Followed that up with a 3-2 win over Gretna on Tuesday. This ranking shows the parity of the class behind Papio. Last week: unranked.
  3. Elkhorn South (22-6). Points: 2. Lackluster performance at Lincoln Northeast, but overall strength of their wins is deciding factor. Barely. Millard North and Gretna before the Metro Tournament to finish the season. Will need wins to stay here. Last week: 2. 
  4. Millard West (16-6). Points: 5. The Wildcats have played five straight five-set matches and have come away with quality wins since 10/1, defeating Marian, Duchesne and Millard South on Tuesday. Next up is a match with Gretna on Thursday. Can quite nudge them past the Storm due to the 0-3 head-to-head record. Last week: 6.
  5. Lincoln Pius X (21-5). Points: 3. Also a lackluster performance at Northeast drops the Bolts, who had losses to Class B Waverly and Gretna. Big night on Thursday against Marian and Papillion-Lavista. Can they gain back some previous momentum. Last week: 3.
  6. Millard South (16-9). Points: 7. Splitting hairs here at the bottom with South, Millard North and Gretna it appears. The Patriots rewarded for 5-1 record at Lincoln Northeast and head-to-head win earlier over Gretna, but were swept by Millard West on Tuesday. Last week: unranked.

Class B

  1. Omaha Skutt Catholic (15-3). NSAA Playoff Points: 2. Last week: 1.
  2. Waverly (22-2). Points: 1. Last week: 2.
  3. Omaha Duchesne Academy (14-11). Points: 5. Last week: 3.
  4. Norris (16-8). Points: 6. Last week: 4.
  5. Sidney (21-2). Points: 3. Last week: 3.
  6. Platteview (16-4). Points: 4. Last week: 6.

Comments: We are keeping everything the same in Class B. Skutt is 16th in the nation and advanced to the finals of the prestigious ASICS Challenge in Chicago over the weekend. Waverly dropped their first to matches of the season at the Lincoln Northeast Invite to Marian and Millard South, but defeated Gretna and Elkhorn South along with a win over Wahoo on Tuesday. Sidney went 6-0 at the Twin Cities Tournament in Scottsbluff/Gering.

The St. Paul Wildcats have been all smiles this year, especially here after winning the Harvest Invitational in Gothenburg. (nebpreps / @StPaulVB Twitter)

Class C-1

  1. St. Paul (21-0). Points: 1. Last week: 1.
  2. Wahoo (18-3). Points: 3. Last week: 4.
  3. Lincoln Lutheran (19-3). Points: 8. Last week: 2.
  4. Broken Bow (19-2). Points: 5. Last week: 3.
  5. Syracuse (17-1). Points: 4. Last week: 6
  6. Chadron (18-3). Points: 2. Last week: unranked

Comments: Slight shuffle here as Wahoo gets the move to second after defeating Lincoln Lutheran and winning the Ashland-Greenwood Invite. Chadron moves in after 5-1 showing in Scottsbluff and Lakeview drops out after losses to Norfolk Catholic, Scotus and St. Paul.

Class C-2

  1. Superior (17-2). NSAA Playoff Points: 2. Last week: 2.
  2. Hastings St. Cecilia (23-2). Points: 1. Last week: 1.
  3. Grand Island Central Catholic (14-2). Points: 3. Last week: 2.
  4. Bishop Neumann (12-6). Points: 7. Last week: 4.
  5. Thayer Central (22-4). Points: 4. Last week: 5.
  6. Fillmore Central (16-7). Points: 13.

Comments: LOL. You rank these teams. If we are going to move others up based on recent play, we have to move Superior to the top spot after their 3-set (2-1) win over St. Cecilia in Hastings last week. The Cats also knocked off Fillmore Central to win the Adams Central Invite. Thayer Central won the Johnson County Central Invite. Can’t wait to see how 2-4 go through the Centennial Conference tournament.

Class D-1

  1. Diller-Odell (21-1). NSAA Playoff Points: 2. Last week: 1.
  2. Pleasanton (18-1). Points: 1. Last week: 2.
  3. Fremont Archbishop Bergan (18-9). Points: 4. Last week: 1.
  4. Overton (21-2). Points: 6. Last week: 1.
  5. Chambers/Wheeler Central (21-2). Points: 3. Last week: 1.
  6. Central Valley (17-4). Points: 3. Last week: 1

Comments: Despite the 3-2 loss to Class C-2, No. 6 Fillmore Central, Diller-Odell stays No. 1. Teams 2-4 went perfect last week and CWC and Central Valley switch as CWC took a 2-0 win in the Palmer Triangular. Maywood-Hayes Center is 22-0 out west and knocking on the door or a ranking but schedule strength still a concern as they have yet to play a Division 1 team in the NSAA points.

Class D-2

  1. Lawrence-Nelson (20-3). NSAA Playoff Points: 1. Last week: 1.
  2. Wynot (16-1). Points: 2. Last week: 2.
  3. BDS (16-3). Points: 4. Last week: 3.
  4. Humphrey St. Francis. Points: 7. Last week: unranked.
  5. Nebraska Christian (15-3). Points: 6. Last week: 4.
  6. Bertrand (14-4). Points: 5. Last week: 5

Comments: Losses by Lawrence-Nelson (to Superior and St. Cecilia) and Wynot (to Class C-1 Omaha Concordia) do not dampen our spirits on them. BDS remains. Humphrey St. Francis (an oversight last week) is fourth and owns a win over Nebraska Christian. So, Bertrand drops and did nothing wrong. Garden County falls out after a loss to Lingle-Fort Laramie, WY.

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