YORK – Both Hampton and Exeter-Milligan did their part Monday night to make the championship match of the Crossroads Conference tournament a battle between the top two teams in Class D-2.
Hampton, 26-0 and ranked #1 in Class D-2, swept past Class D-1 #3 Meridian 25-20, 25-17, 25-17 while Exeter-Milligan, 22-3 and ranked #2 in D-2, got past D-1 #6 BDS 25-15, 25-16, 18-25, 25-23 to set-up the showdown Tuesday night in York.
Hampton is the only team in Nebraska that has not lost a set during the course of the season, but its match against the Mustangs Monday night was closer than the scores would indicate.
After controlling much of the first set, Meridian played well late and was able to take that momentum into the second set. The Mustangs hung with Hampton the whole way and pulled within 19-17 on an ace block from Lauren DeLord, but the Hawks closed the set on a 6-0 run behind the play of Tristin Mason and Tayler Klassen to go up 2-0 in the match.
In the third set, Meridian again hung with Hampton at 15-15, but the Hawks found another gear late and finished on a 10-2 run to complete the sweep.
Klassen led a balanced Hampton attack with 12 kills while Mason had 11 and Madison VanHousen added 10 kills and five blocks. Setter Jaime Troester dished out 35 assists.
It looked early on in the Exeter-Milligan and BDS match that the Timberwolves were going to have an easy time of things, but the Lady Eagles caught a spark in the third set.
A couple kills late in the third set by Jadyn Kleinschmidt pulled BDS within 2-1, but the play of Katherine White down the stretch in the fourth set lifted Exeter-Milligan to the 3-1 win.
White led Exeter-Milligan with 13 kills, four blocks, six ace serves and eight digs. Hailey Luzum added nine kills and 13 digs while Samantha Horne had eight kills. Setter Sydney Hall finished with 39 assists.