LINCOLN - Runner-Up again.
A tough start played a large part in a Cedar Catholic loss in the Class C2 state championship match against Blue Hill.
Coming out of a three-set sweep over Superior on Friday, confidence, hopes, and expectations were sky high for a Cedar Catholic team heading to its second straight championship match.
That optimism quickly turned to worries as the Lady Trojans struggled to find a rhythm early on.
“I think we came out a little underwhelming,” said Cedar head coach Denae Buss. “We just had to get our offense going and once we did we really played hard.”
Cedar would fall in the first two sets, 25-16 25-21, and quickly the girls found themselves one set away from being swept in the championship match.
Cedar Catholic would rally though. In the huddle in between the second and third set, senior Jada Cattau said the girls really rallied together.
“[We said] that we know what we came here to do and we are going to do it because we have beaten so many odds that why not just beat one more,” said Cattau. “Everyone was fired up, and had confidence.”
And the team did rally a comeback. In the third set, it looked like the Cedar team that swept Superior and not the one that struggled in the first two sets. Cedar went on to win 25-14 to keep the match alive
In the fourth, Cedar continued with the momentum, getting up as much as 18-10 at one point. Blue Hill smartly used a timeout and was able to cut that lead to 19-14, forcing a Cedar timeout.
This timeout gave the Lady Bobcats more momentum, as Blue Hill surged back into the game, trailing Cedar 22-19 before the Lady Trojans took another timeout.
Blue Hill would tie it 22-22 then as the defensive strategy of the Lady Bobcats kept Cedar from getting into an offensive rhythm. Cedar would counter back though by winning the next two points to make it 24-22 and be one point away from forcing a decisive fifth set.
That set would never come through. Blue Hill would win the next four points to take a 26-24 fourth set win, winning the Class C2 state championship 3-1 in sets.
“Every time they hit it or got a point we kind of got down on ourselves and we didn’t keep the energy up,” said senior Maddie Wieseler about the fourth set. “We just stopped attacking and they took advantage of that.”
The raw emotion showed on the faces of the Lady Trojans volleyball team as the girls stayed on the court directly following the loss to receive their medals and the runner-up trophy. Tears fell as the girls raised the consolation trophy for the second time in as many years.
Still a phenomenal feat, but it was not the goal of the team that looked to avenge a soiled undefeated season the year before when Superior handed Cedar the first loss of the season for the team in the state championship in 2017.
Still, though, the seniors seemed to have a positive perspective on the success shown the past two years by the Cedar Catholic volleyball team.
“It is an amazing experience. It is so fun to play here and it is unlike anything you get to do, said senior Brianna Miller. “To be able to do it with these girls by my side is an absolutely amazing thing.”
It is the second year in a row that cedar Catholic volleyball players were able to experience what it was like to play at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the home of the Nebraska Huskers women’s volleyball team.
One senior Lady Trojan has already committed to playing at the next level. Maddie Wieseler will play at Midland University next fall and says this experience has helped prepare her for that next step.
“It will give me a lot of motivation because when I go to Midland we will be playing in this atmosphere almost every game, so it will be nice to be used to that. I am just ready for that.”
For now, though, Cattau, Miller, and Wieseler agree that this loss will be used as motivation for the girls' basketball season that started practice on Monday.
“We want to go to a state championship in basketball,” said Miller. “Definitely.”
Cedar Catholic 16 21 25 24
Blue Hill 25 25 14 26
Cedar Catholic - Jada Cattau, 12; Maddie Wieseler, 11; Abby Hochstein, 8; Kenlee Goeden, 7; Brianna Miller, 6; Tori Arens, 2. Blue Hill - Rylee Kohmetscher, 14; Emily Meyer, 10; Kacey Allen, 9; Madison Menke, 8; Jamie Bonifas, 4; Brooklyn Kohmetscher, 1.
Cedar Catholic - Maddie Wieseler, 22; Aiden Wortmann, 20; Tori Arens, 2; Abby Hochstein, 1. Blue Hill - Jamie Bonifas, 37; Madison Menke, 2; Brianna Danehey, 1.
Cedar Catholic - Brianna Miller, 3; Abby Hochstein, 2; Jada Cattau, 1; Maddie Wieseler, 1. Blue Hill - Kacey Allen, 1; Jamie Bonifas, 1; Emily Meyer, 1.
Cedar Catholic - Kenlee Goeden, 5; Maddie Wieseler, 5; Brianna Miller, 4; Abby Hochstein, 2; Tori Arens, 1; Jada Cattau, 1. Blue Hill - Rylee Kohmetscher, 4; Emily Meyer, 3; Jamie Bonifas, 2; Brooklyn Kohmetscher, 1.
Cedar Catholic - Abby Hochstein, 17; Maddie Wieseler, 16; Megan Heimes, 15; Aiden Wortmann, 11; Jada Cattau, 10; Kenlee Goeden, 5; Tori Arens, 5. Blue Hill - Brianna Danehey, 19; Kacey Allen, 14; Jamie Bonifas, 12; Madison Menke, 11; Brooklyn Kohmetscher, 9; Emily Meyer, 2.
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