Stanton sweeps Battle Creek to advance in C2
LINCOLN — Stanton struggled in the first two sets but rallied to put away Battle Creek 25-22, 25-23, 25-17 in the opening round Thursday of the Class C2 state volleyball tournament.
With the victory at Lincoln Southwest High School, the Mustangs improved to 30-1 on the year while Battle Creek ends its season with a record of 22-11.
A relieved Stanton coach Tracy Kuester-Burtwistle gave the Bravettes props.
“They went out and played fearless,” she said. “They got us a little bit out of our rhythm, but our girls stepped back and made some adjustments we needed to make on our side and made sure we were able to finish and capitalize when we needed to make those points happen.”
A monster kill from Jessie Brandl gave Stanton a 21-17 lead in the first set before Battle Creek responded with a four-point run that included a Madaline Taake service ace and kills from BriAnna Zohner and Tria McLean to tie it at 21.
But the Mustangs scored four of the next five points. Liz Christensen’s kill of the block sealed the first set win.
Battle Creek led for much of the second set. A Shelby Obst ace and Stanton attack error gave the Bravettes a 17-12 lead. Stanton then responded with three straight Brandl kills and a Battle Creek net violation to cut the lead to one. Later, another Brandl kill off the block gave the Mustangs a 19-18 lead.
The teams then traded points until McLean’s kill gave Battle Creek a 23-22 advantage. But Stanton’s Christensen recorded a kill to tie it up and two Bravette attack errors ended the set and put Stanton in command two sets to none.
Battle Creek coach Cody Wintz said he thought his squad’s aggressive serves kept them in those first two sets.
“One of our goals was to serve tough and to try to get them out of system because we knew that’s what we were going to have to do to beat them,” he said. “If they were in system all night, it was going to be tough to beat them. The girls executed the game plan — we just didn’t get it done.”
Battle Creek’s wheels came off early in the third set as Stanton scored 13 of the first 14 points. The Bravettes reeled off a pair of four-point runs, but it was too little too late as the Mustangs cruised to a 25-17 win.
“Our serving was getting them out of system,” Kuester-Burtwistle said. “They were giving us a lot of free balls and at the same time we were capitalizing on them and were passing where our setters needed to go — and our setters were making good choices.”
“It was a good team effort,” she added. “Jess (Brandl), Bree (Burtwistle) and Reba (Waskowiak) stepped up. It’s hard to defend when you always have a hitter or two in the front row.”
Wintz said he was proud of his team’s valiant effort.
“I thought our girls played really well. Outside of starting that third set 13-1, we were right with them the whole way, he said. “We served the ball really well, we didn’t get into the tipping mode, we attacked — they (Stanton) just made plays.”
Stanton’s semifinal opponent Friday afternoon was set to be 30-2 Blue Hill at Pinnacle Bank Arena’s north court. The Bobcats swept Hastings St. Cecilia 25-17, 25-23, 25-22 in the day’s opening match.
“It’s going to be a really god match,” Kuester-Burtwistle said. “It’s going to come down to who can hold their composure the longest and also those aggressive serves — that’s going to be a big factor, too.”
Stanton defeats Battle Creek
25-22, 25-23, 25-17
STANTON (30-1): Jaiden Hartl 1a, 15d; Jessie Brandl 19k, 17d, 2s; Makenna Espinoza 7d 16s; Ellie Locke 1k, 4d; Bree Burtwistle 11k, 1a, 9d, 24s; Liz Christensen 4k, 2a, 7d, 1s; Reba Waskowiak 14k, 2b, 3d.
BATTLE CREEK (22-11): Shelby Obst 4a, 28d, 4s; Makenna Taake 1k, 2b, 1d; Lydia Roskeland 6d; Brynn Hamer 1a, 5d, 12s; BriAnna Zohner 3k, 1b, 22d; Madaline Taake 3k, 4a, 2d; Cora Gillespie 2k, 1b; Riley Seifert 6k, 4b, 1a, 20; Rachel Schlote 5k, 1b, 4d, 1s; Tria McLean 10k, 1b, 11d, 15s.