CREIGHTON - A hard-fought Subdistrict Semifinal match between conference foes could only allow one team’s season to survive for another day. No. 4 seed Wausa gave top seed Hartington-Newcastle a tough challenge, forcing four sets, but ultimately the Lady Wildcats came out on top.
It started when Wausa came out hot to take an 8-2 lead to start the match. Wausa head coach Greg Conn said that confidence boost gave the girls momentum early that they were able to carry for most of the match.
“That was really huge and we talked about it in the pregame,” said Conn. “We can’t sit back and let them go because we know what their power is and they are a great team that does a lot of good things. That beginning was a huge confidence boost to say ‘hey we can play with them’.”
HNS would come back in the first set and win 25-19, but the Wausa defense was already starting to get to the HNS hitters.
The Lady Wildcats would win the second set 25-20, and again Wausa’s defense kept the Lady Vikings around. The defense became too much in the third set when Wausa won 25-22 to force a fourth set.
“I give Wausa huge props,” said HNS head coach Leigh Haselhorst. Their defense and hustle were amazing, and it is frustrating when you play a team like that because you are swinging and swinging and swinging thinking the ball is going to land and they just keep getting it up.”
HNS was able to get past the frustrations to win the fourth set 25-22.
For the Lady Wildcats, junior Brianna Hopping earned the start at setter with senior Liby Lange dealing with a knee injury from practice on Friday. The junior stepped up big for the Wildcats with 33 set assists, 13 digs, five kills, and two ace serves.
“She did a great job for what she was dealing with,” said Haselhorst. “Our passes weren’t that great and I thought she did a good job getting the ball up there for our hitters. They did a good job of adjusting around her though.”
Lange finally made an appearance in the fourth set when HNS was down 15-16. HNS would tie it on the next point and go on to win the fourth set.
The win extends Hartington-Newcastle’s season and ended Wausa’s. The Lady Wildcats traveled back to Creighton on Tuesday to face North Central, while Wausa finished with a record of 12-18 on the season.
Wausa 19 20 25 22
HNS 25 25 22 25
Hartington-Newcastle - Kayden Jueden, 15; Belle Harms, 14; Abbe Morten, 10; Brianna Hopping, 5; Evvie Krie, 3; Gina Jueden, 2. Wausa - Paige Nissen, 15; Kaitlyn Kumm, 11; Liz Johnson, 7; Esther Nelson, 2; Brooke Kumm, 2; Ruth Johnson, 1.
Hartington-Newcastle - Brianna Hopping, 33; Liby Lange, 7. Wausa - Jaide Kaiser, 38.
Hartington-Newcastle - Abbe Morten, 3; Brianna Hopping, 2; Keanna Korth, 1; Autumn Lammers, 1; Kayden Jueden, 1. Wausa - Jaide Kaiser, 2; Ainsley Nelson, 1; Destiny Fox, 1.
Hartington-Newcastle - Evvie Krie, 2; Belle Harms, 1. Wausa - Esther Nelson, 8; Liz Johnson, 8; Paige Nissen, 4; Brooke Kumm, 1.
Hartington-Newcastle - Willa Scoville, 26; Autumn Lammers, 14; Brianna Hopping, 13; Kayden Jueden, 13; Abbe Morten, 8; Gina Jueden, 3; Evvie Krie, 3; Belle Harms, 2; Keanna Korth, 2; Liby Lange, 1. Wausa - Jaide Kaiser, 22; Liz Johnson, 22; Paige Nissen, 19; Destiny Fox, 14; Ruth Johnson, 10; Ainsley Nelson, 9; Kaitlyn Kumm, 4; Brooke Kumm, 3; Esther Nelson, 3.