The Lincoln Southwest Silverhawks and Lincoln Southeast Knights both return a lot of the same players from last year, which could result in a fun rivalry to watch this upcoming season. Lincoln Southwest returns almost their entire starting lineup from a year ago. Lincoln Southeast returns a lot of their same players as well, including senior UMKC commit Melanie Brecka.
A year ago Lincoln Southwest beat Lincoln Southeast three times before the district tournament. The two teams met at the LPS Classic tournament at Lincoln Southeast in September, played a five-set thriller at Lincoln Southwest in October during conference play, and then met in the Heartland Athletic Conference tournament championship match, all of which Lincoln Southwest won. The Silverhawks even swept the Knights in the HAC conference championship match.
Once the Class A district pairings came out, the Silverhawks and Knights got put in the A-7 district. Lincoln Southwest was ranked 7th in wildcard points which meant that they would host the 7th and last district site for class A. The A-7 district is usually the district with the most closely ranked teams, meaning a lot of upsets could happen out of that district. In 2015 Lincoln Southeast got put in the A-7 district as well, and even upset host Lincoln North Star in four sets and kept the Gators from advancing to the class A state volleyball tournament with Millard West getting upset by Millard North in five sets in the A-6 district. Since Millard West was in a higher district they got the wildcard, keeping Lincoln North Star out of the state tournament.
After beating the Knights 6 days earlier in the HAC final, the Silverhawks still went into district play as the favorite to win the last district. Lincoln Southwest beat Lincoln East in their district semifinal match in four sets and Lincoln Southeast swept Omaha North in the other district semifinal, putting the two teams against each other in the A-7 title match later that night. After the Silverhawks swept the Knights just six days before the district tournament, the Knights made the A-7 title match very interesting. After dropping the 1st set 23-25 against Lincoln Southwest, Lincoln Southeast came back to win sets two and three. The Silverhawks had to take the 4th set to extra points, winning 27-25 to force a 5th and final set. The 5th set was back and forth with kills and runs, and Lincoln Southeast pulled off the upset in the A-7 district once again, winning the thriller 20-18 in the 5th set.
Even though the Knights upset Lincoln Southwest in the A-7 title match, the Silverhawks earned the 2017 class A wildcard due to the fact that the other 6 districts went as planned. The Silverhawks and Knights were both swept in the first round of the class A state volleyball tournament, with Lincoln Southwest losing to the 2nd seed Omaha Marian and Lincoln Southeast losing to top seeded Papillion LaVista. Millard North went on to win the class A state volleyball tournament and that was a team Lincoln Southwest had swept earlier on in the season.
The 2017 high school season could potentially have some exciting matches between the Silverhawks and Knights. The Silverhawks return both setters Rachel Walker and Joycin Stonacek from their 6-2 offense a year ago, and the Knights return their super state middle Melanie Brecka. Both teams should remain ranked in the top 10 in the state throughout the season and remain at the top of the HAC conference as well. This rivalry will definitely be one to watch during the 2017 high school season.