Posted On: 09/14/16 4:26 AM

ELKHORN – Just when it looked like Elkhorn was going to push its match with cross-town rival Elkhorn South to a fourth set Thursday night, the Storm rolled through the end of the third set by scoring the final nine points to take a 3-0 victory over the Antlers.

Elkhorn South took the first two sets 25-17, 25-20 against Elkhorn before the Antlers 5-2 run late in the third set to take a 22-16 lead on the Storm on an ace block from Lauren Edet. Elkhorn South, however, rattled off six straight points to tie it at 22-22 and then took a 23-22 lead on an ace serve from freshman setter Emily Bay that glanced off Claire Mountjoy as she tried spinning out of the way of the ball. A kill from Elkhorn South’s Taylor Heinen made it 24-23 and KayLynn Maslonka capped the rally and ended the match when she sent a second ball over a drawn-in Elkhorn defense that found the floor deep in the opposite corner.

The win improved Elkhorn South, ranked #4 in Class B, to 5-1 on the season while the #5 Antlers dropped to 8-2.

“It was an amazing comeback. We have a lot of young and inexperienced girls, so to be able to have this to look back on is good,” Elkhorn South coach Brianna Janda said. “We’ve struggled a little bit with inconsistency and errors so to be able to string together what we did at the end against an amazing team was huge.”

Elkhorn South never trailed in winning the first set and in the second set, with the score tied at 20-20, the Elkhorn South duo of TCU recruit Sarah Swanson and Gabrielle Peterson each had a kill and an ace block in a 5-0 run to end the set for the Storm.

Swanson had a monster night, finishing with 20 kills while hitting .581  to go with three block and an ace serve on the night. When Janda was asked what advice she would give to opposing coaches to stop Swanson, she basically said there isn’t much you can do to stop her when she’s on.

“Half the battle is she hits over other people’s block. She just plays at a higher elevation. Until you can train players to jump higher, there isn’t much that you can do,” Janda said. “Grace Nelson is a phenomenal libero (for Elkhorn) and she couldn’t handle some of those balls. When you’re able to get a kill on one of the best liberos in the state, that’s pretty impressive in my book.”

Swanson said she’s been able to click pretty well early in the season with new Elkhorn South setters Bay and Emily Champion. In six matches this year, Swanson has 81 kills (4.8 per set) and is hitting an astounding .454.

“I think we’re getting there. It’s slowly coming along,” Swanson said. “The more we practice with them the better the connection gets. It wasn’t there (in the preseason) but you can feel it coming on more now.”

First-year coach Abby daSilva said she saw a lot of good things from her team Tuesday night, but letting Elkhorn South rally with a pair of service runs to end the second and third sets was uncharacteristic of her squad.

“I’m not disappointed in the loss, I was just a little bit disappointed in how we handled ourselves,” daSilva said. “Usually we are a very composed team with the level of senior leadership that we have and I think we kind of let the jitters get to us a little bit and played tight tonight.”

Class B #4 Elkhorn South def. Class B #5 Elkhorn 25-17, 25-20, 25-22

Elkhorn (8-2)
Kills/Aces/Blocks

Lauren Edet 5-0-2; AShlyn Dau 1-0-1.5; Heather Bills 2-0-4; Ariana Osten 0-0-0.5; Cera Craven 1-0-0; Abby Trapp 4-0-0; Emma Crouch 1-0-0; Claire Mountjoy 7-0-1.

Elkhorn South (5-1)
Kills/Aces/Blocks

MacKenzie Saitta 3-0-0.5; KayLynn Maslonka 6-0-1; Sarah Swanson 20-1-2; Gabrielle Peterson 6-0-1.5; Taylor Heinen 7-0-0; Logan Connealy 1-0-2; Anna Clark 0-1-0; Emily Bay 0-3-0; Riley Newton 0-1-0.

Assists: Elkhorn 21 (Josie Mountjoy 11, Megan Raszler 6, Grace Nelson 3, Dau 1), Elkhorn South 37 (Bay 20, Emily Champion 16, Maslonka 1). Digs: Elkhorn 33 (Nelson 11, Claire Mountjoy 11, Raszler 5, Josie Mountjoy 5, Bills 1), Elkhorn South 44 (Newton 12, Maslonka 10, Bay 5, Clark 5, Swanson 4, Heinen 3, Peterson 2, Champion 2, Saitta 1).