PAPILLION – It’s not like Class A #3 Papillion-LaVista South or #4 Millard North needed another dogfight this early in the high school volleyball season, yet that’s where both teams found themselves Tuesday night in Papillion.
A little over 72 hours after completing the grueling Bellevue Invitational (where both squads went 4-2), the two contenders for the Class A crown strapped it up again for a big match. Titan 6-foot junior Peyton Schendt proved to be the difference as she ripped a match-high 19 kills to lead a balanced Papillion-LaVista South attack in a 23-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 victory over Millard North.
“When Peyton plays well, we play well,” Papillion-LaVista South coach Brad Reichmuth said. “We’re working on her to continue to play big like she needs to, and she can.
“This is a huge win for us. I think winning promotes winning and this will help us down the road for sure.”
Papillion-LaVista South (5-2) started on fire, taking a 6-0 lead in the first set only to have Millard North quickly recover and get the set tied at 10-10. The first set remained tight all the way and a kill by Schendt helped the Titans fight off a set point and close the Mustangs’ lead to 24-23. Millard North 6-foot-1 freshman McKenna Ruch, however, ended the set with a kill. Ruch would finish the night with a team-high 13 kills for the Mustangs.
The final three sets were each close most of the way until Papillion-LaVista seized control late in each. Both Millard North (4-3) and Papillion-LaVista are young teams with each only using two seniors and Mustangs’ coach Lindsay Peterson said her squad can learn valuable lessons from what happened in the match.
“They got an opportunity to see when things aren’t going our way what we have to do to fight and stay in matches,” Peterson said. “That comes with experience on the floor.
“We’ll learn from this. (Papillion-LaVista South) flat out out-defended us and they kept the ball in play and we couldn’t defend down the line when we needed to defend down the line. Hat’s off to them.”
Late in the second set, a pair of kills by Schendt helped Papillion-LaVista South pull out to a 23-20 lead and the Titans wound up putting it away 25-21 on back-to-back kills by Malory Voyles and Taliyah Flores to even the match at 1-1.
The third set saw Papillion-LaVista South dominate early and take a lead as big as 20-9, but Millard North finally got things rolling before falling 25-21.
In the fourth set, both teams played evenly until the Titans again pulled away late. With Papillion-LaVista South leading 18-17, kills from Mara LeGrand, Flores and a Millard North hitting error pushed the Titan lead to 21-17. Millard North got its final two points on a service error and Ruch kill, but the Mustangs gave Papillion-LaVista its final three points on errors and the Titans took the fourth set 25-19.
Class A #3 Papillion-LaVista South def. #4 Millard North 23-25 25-21, 25-21, 25-19
Millard North (4-3)
Madison Johnson 6-0-1; Elle Olson 3-0-0; Emma Grunkemeyer 3-0-4; Paige Holdsworth 1-1-0; Izzy Lukens 1-2-0; McKenna Ruch 13-0-3; Mallory Stamm 1-0-0; Emmy Grant 4-0-2; Elise Baumann 6-0-0; Madison Evans 0-1-0; Megan Hanson 1-0-0.
Papillion-LaVista South (5-3)
Jessica Hendrix 2-0-4.5; Sophie Hendrix 1-0-0; Peyton Schendt 19-0-1; Leah Palensky 0-1-0; Malory Voyles 10-0-1.5; Taliyah Flores 10-2-2.5; Moe Bianchi 0-0-1; Mara LeGrand 9-0-1; Sydney Morehouse 9-0-1.5.
Set assists: Millard North 38 (Lukens 32, Claire Andry 6); Papillion-LaVista South 56 (LeGrand 34, Ashlyn Dierks 17, Palensky 4, Flores 1).
Digs: Millard North 75 (Evans 20, Baumann 20, Stamm 11, Lukens 6, Megan Hanson 6, Olson 5, Johnson 2, Ruch 2, Holdsworth 1, Grant 1, Andry 1); Papillion-LaVsita South 95 (Palensky 26, Flores 18, LeGrand 18, Katie McLaughlin 9, Jessica Hendrix 6, Voyles 6, Dierks 5, Morehouse 3, Schendt 2, Payton Moore 2).