Norris advances to state tourney
FIRTH — Once the nerves were out of the way, there was no stopping Norris.
The No. 5 Titans protected their home court Saturday and swept Hastings 25-21, 25-19, 25-22 to win the B-7 district final and advance to the state volleyball tournament.
Things started off rocky as the teams traded service errors to start the match and combined for five in the first set.
“There were some jitters on both sides,” Norris coach Christina Boesiger said. “We just kind of stuck to our game plan, what we wanted to do, and executed. We knew we just had to play consistent, not play above what we’ve played before, but just get to a high, consistent level, and we were pretty confident going in.”
No. 9 Hastings (25-7), which was denied its first state berth since 2008, dropped a competitive first set and fell behind 5-0 in the second. Senior Cecilia Beahm gave the Tigers hope by recording seven of her 14 kills in the set, but Norris held off the rally.
“We just kept telling them after every set, ‘You haven’t won anything yet. It’s great being up 1-0, 2-0, but until you have those three wins, you’re not guaranteed anything.’” Boesiger said.
Titan senior Michaela Boon put together a solid all-around game with 11 kills, eight digs, 11 assists and a service ace. Five of her kills came in the third set.
Ella Waters added 10 kills and two blocks for Norris.
“I think this team just has no quit. We work hard all the time, and I think we’re confident there’s nobody we can’t compete with,” Boon said.
It was not an easy road to state for Norris (24-11), which lost to Seward in Tuesday’s subdistrict final. But Boesiger said her team learned lessons from the adversity.
“Some of the losses we’ve had, I’d say they were good losses, and we’ve learned from them,” the coach said. “As the season’s gone on, they’ve kept getting better and better each day, and so to get these girls here, it’s awesome for them to experience that.”
Norris last made it to the state tournament in 2014, when it won the second of two straight state titles. The seniors on this year’s team were in middle school when that happened.