ADAMS – The last time Johnson-Brock and Diller-Odell faced each other in the championship match of a tournament, it was last November and the Class D-1 state championship was on the line.
With both teams going 2-0 in pool play on Thursday at the Freeman Invitational, the two teams appear to be headed for another tournament championship match against each other. In the likely event Johnson Brock, 2-0 and ranked #1 in Class D-1, defeats Friend and Diller-Odell, 2-0 and ranked #3 in Class C-2, gets a win over Pawnee City on Saturday morning the two teams will play for the title that afternoon.
The two teams played each other five times last year, splitting the first four matches before Johnson-Brock took the decisive fifth meeting and the state championship. As such, you get the feeling Saturday’s likely championship match will have a slight taste of November atmosphere to it.
In Pool B, Johnson-Brock went 2-0 with a pair of dominating performances, taking a 25-9, 25-10 win over Sterling and a 25-12, 25-13 win over Class C-2 #9 Elmwood-Murdock. Elmwood-Murdock went 1-1 on the day with a 17-25, 25-19, 25-22 win over Friend while Friend also went 1-1 by bouncing back with a 25-11, 25-9 win over Sterling.
In Pool A, Diller-Odell had to work a little harder than Johnson-Brock for its 2-0 mark. After the Griffins beat Deshler 25-8, 25-11 they had to rally to take a 26-28, 25-23, 25-20 win over Class C-2 #4 Freeman in a very competitive match from start to finish. Freeman went 1-1 with a 25-22, 25-16 win over Pawnee City. Pawnee City also went 1-1 with a 25-11, 25-20 win over Deshler.
The match of the evening was definitely the Freeman tilt with Diller-Odell.
After splitting two extremely tight sets, Diller-Odell looked like it was going to control the third set from the outset as it built leads of 13-5 and 18-9 before the Falcons mounted a furious rally behind their 6-foot-1 sophomore Kayla Haynes. Haynes got an ace block and a kill on consecutive points and Maggie Parde followed with a kill to cut the Diller-Odell lead to 19-15. The set was tied at 19-19 after a pair of Diller-Odell hitting errors and another ace block and kill from Haynes.
Freeman’s run was snapped with a service error and Diller-Odell would build its lead back to 22-19 on a Freeman hitting error and a kill by the Griffins’ Madison Hajek. Haynes, however, answered with a monster kill to make it 22-20, but her kill that got the sideout for Freeman also sent her to the back row and Diller-Odell capitalized on that. Hajek had an ace block and Diller-Odell got kills from Paige Vitosh and Katie Zarybnicky to end it.
South Dakota recruit Madison Jurgens did a little of everything – as usual – for Diller-Odell, finishing with a match-high 18 kills on .410 hitting and also added 20 digs and 13 assists. Hajek finished the match with 11 kills, 4 1/2 blocks and 20 digs while Mackenzie Vitosh had 4 1/2 blocks and Paige Vitosh finished with 18 assists.
Haynes led Freeman with 14 kills on .182 hitting and also had two blocks. Emma Alberts added 10 kills on .233 hitting Tori Buhr had 23 digs and Lyndsey Ehmen had 22 assists.