WAHOO – The Wahoo Warrior volleyball will find themselves in a familiar place on Thursday evening.
The Warriors will be playing for a third straight Class C-1 state championship as part of the eight team field in the Nebraska State Volleyball Championships.
The 28-3 Warriors enter the tournament as the two seed and will play seven seed Norfolk Catholic at Lincoln North Star High School at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 7.
The Warriors under the guidance of veteran coach Trish Larson have compiled a record of 97-7 over the last three seasons, including a perfect 6-0 mark at the state tournament.
This year the Warriors have been steady as usual with their only losses coming at the hands of three state tournament teams - Norris (Class B), Broken Bow (Class C-1) and Waverly (Class B).
Wahoo has claimed three tournament titles this season including winning their fourth consecutive Capitol Conference trophy.
Since losing to Waverly on Oct. 8 the Warriors have dropped just one set while winning 11 straight matches.
The Warriors barely broke a sweat while winning three straight postseason matches against David City, North Bend Central and Omaha Roncalli Catholic.
Returning all-state sophomore Mya Larson has been the Warriors go-to player at the net all season.
Larson trails only Hannah Kepler of Milford and Mariah Buss of Lincoln Lutheran for the state lead in kills this season. Larson has 545 entering the state tournament, giving her 983 in her short Warrior career.
She has added 45 ace serves and is third on the team with 314 digs.
Larson finished with 24 kills in the Warriors state championship win over Lincoln Lutheran in 2018. She was the only freshman named to the all-tournament team a season ago.
Junior Kelsie Sears has stepped into a larger role for Wahoo this season and is a six rotation player with a wicked, albeit an inconsistent serve.
Sears is second on the team with 218 kills and leads the team with 344 digs and 70 ace serves.
Junior setter Elle Glock, a USC commit, has already set records for Wahoo. She broke the record for assists in a season as a sophomore with 1,133 and although it seems unlikely that she will break her record this season, she still has been really good.
She enters the state tournament with 899 set assists, is a consistent server (97 percent) and she throws up the best block on the team.
Senior libero Kendal Brigham has also stepped up her game in 2019. She has recorded 314 digs, is second on the team in serve percentage to Sears and is the team’s most consistent servers.
Senior middle Lillie Mann has been difference maker for Wahoo over the second half of the year and an argument can be made that she was the team’s most valuable player in the three postseason wins. In the three matches, Mann piled up 31 kills and hit an eye-popping .689, while taking pressure off of Larson and Sears.
A pair of sophomores, Mya Emerson, a transfer from Hastings and Taylor Luben round out the starting lineup for Wahoo this season.
The match with the Knights will be a rematch for Wahoo. The Warriors beat the Knights in Wahoo on Sept. 12 in four sets 25-21, 25-23, 22-25 and 25-20.
It was one of six losses for NC – all six have come to teams playing in the state tournament.
After losing to Battle Creek in four sets in the Class C1-7 sub-district tournament, the Knights got new life, earning one of the four Class C-1 wildcards. The Knights made the most of it, defeating Southern Valley in the C1-7 district final, punching their ticket to the state tournament for the first time since 2012.
Four players have at least 157 kills and it is senior Hayden Wolf who leads the way with 282. She also leads the team in ace serves with 51.
Junior libero Taylor Kautz leads the Knights with 497 digs.
6-footers Mary Fennessy and Abby Miller have put up a good block for the Knights this season while combining for 176 of them to go along with 157 and 163 kills respectively.
Junior Carly Marshall has handed out 805 set assists.