Posted On: 11/9/14 2:35 AM

BELLEVUE – Lincoln Pius X looked like a team trying to make Nebraska high school volleyball history on Saturday and, ultimately, the Thunderbolts did.

Pius X defeated Omaha Gross 25-21, 25-20, 25-20 in the Class B-8 sub-state match on the Cougars’ home court and in the process, clinched a berth in next week’s state tournament. It will be the 20th consecutive year the Thunderbolts have been to the state tournament, which ties the all-time Nebraska high school volleyball record held by Bellevue West from 1987-2006.

“Since these girls have been alive, Pius has been at the state tournament,” Pius X coach Jake Moore said after the match. “That’s something no group of seniors wants to see end.”

WATCH CHAMPIONSHIP POINT

That was obvious during the match as Pius X senior setter Sara Boothe consistently showed why she is one of the premier setters in the state, keeping Omaha Gross off balance the entire match.

Boothe, a Coastal Carolina recruit, had 26 assists as well as five kills for the Thunderbolts while fellow seniors Claire McDermott and Kaitlin VanLoon added six and four kills, respectively.

“I thought Sara did a nice job moving people around,” Moore said. “I thought the key was Sara putting the kids in good hitting positions and moving our middles.”

In the first set, Pius used a 6-0 run to break-open a 5-5score and never trailed again in the set. Gross did managed to cut the lead to 23-21 on a block by Lynsey Matulka, buta Gross hitting error and net violation gave the first set to the Thunderbolts.

Gross, which finishes its season at 25-13, looked poised to even the match in the second set when it got out to an 11-5 lead, but Pius X slowly chipped away at the lead – getting within 13-11 on a McDermott block. A kill by McDermott cut the lead to 14-13 and shortly thereafter McDermott rattled off a pair of service aces that put the Thunderbolts up 17-15 and Gross never led again in the set.

The third set was tight most of the way as a kill by Bailey Meehan cut a late Pius X lead to 17-16. Maddie Grendahl, however, got kills on the next two points for Pius X to put the Thunderbolts up 19-16. Later, Gross fought off two match points before a McDermott kill ended it.

Pius X, which improved to 20-19 with the win, will face Omaha Skutt at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln in the first round of the Class B state tournament.

Class B-8 Sub-State Match 

Lincoln Pius X def. Omaha Gross 25-21, 25-20, 25-20

Lincoln Pius X (kills-ace servees-blocks)

Regan Taubenheim 0-1-0, Sara Boothe 5-0-0, Maddie Grendahl 6-1-0, Kaitlin VanLoon 4-0-3, Kathleen Medill 3-0-2, Claire McDermott 6-2-0, Kelsey Daberkow 5-0-1, Jenna Dolezal 3-0-0.

Omaha Gross (kills-ace serves-blocks)

Bailey Meehan 9-0-0, Kelsey Beaudin 6-1-0, Lauren Parr 10-1-1, Lynsey Matulka 6-0-3, Brittney Vomacka 1-0-0, Brittany Fleming 4-0-2.

Assists: Lincoln Pius X 30 (Boothe 26, McDermott 3, Laney Harper 1). Omaha Gross 32 (Addison Zeltner 17, Meehan 14, Vomacka 1).