Bulldogs remain unbeaten in convincing win over Tigers
HUMPHREY — Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family remained unbeaten Thursday with a four-set victory over visiting North Bend Central 25-11, 25-21, 26-28, 25-13.
With the win, the Bulldogs flexed their muscles while serving notice that they’ll be among the elite teams in the East Husker Conference and perhaps all of Class D1.
The Bulldogs looked unbeatable in the first set, but North Bend scratched and clawed to make a match of it, even winning set number three.
“I thought there were moments we played really, really well,” Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family coach Cami Oelsligle said. “Obviously, we would have liked not to drop that third set, but we’re learning.”
The Bulldogs cruised in the first as Taya Beller showed why she’s one of the best players in the state by making play after play, whether it was by serving, passing, setting or recording kills in a variety of ways — both at the net and in the back row.
The 6-foot-2 senior filled the stat sheet with 22 kills, three solo blocks and two service aces.
North Bend Central coach Amy Sterup said Beller intimidated her young team, especially early.
“The deer-in-the-headlights look,” Sterup said. “They watched her hit (during warmups), and that’s the worst thing that they could have done.”
The second set was close throughout. Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family led 15-12 when Megan Ortmeier recorded a kill off the block and Ally Pojar scored on a service ace to pull the Tigers to within one.
North Bend had a chance to tie, but Beller’s solo block put the Bulldogs up by two and provided the momentum needed to close out the set.
A Lauren Emanuel kill gave the Tigers a 6-5 lead in the third set, their first lead since scoring the match’s first point.
Trailing 19-11, Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family went on an eight-point run to tie it up as Brittney Veik’s serves kept the Tigers off-balance, while Beller and Danie Brandl combined for six kills.
The teams traded the next 11 points. Trailing 25-24, Humphrey Lindsay/Holy Family survived the first of three set points when Allie Schneider’s kill tied it at 25.
The Bulldogs led 26-25 when Emanuel kept the Tigers alive with a kill of her own. Then two Ortmeier service aces gave North Bend the third set, 28-26.
Sterup said her young team learned a lot during the first two sets.
“I thought we gained momentum the second set, and it carried over into the third set,” she said. “It’s all going to come together, but it’s going to take time for us.”
Meanwhile, tension filled Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family’s team huddle between the third and fourth sets.
“The girls actually kind of responded to some yelling,” Oelsligle said, laughing. “When you beat a team the first set 25-11 and then give them a little bit of hope in that second set and if you do that, then they take it, so that’s why we had to send a message home, like go out and prove what kind of team we are.”
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family brushed aside any notion that the Tigers would take the third-set momentum into the fourth. Schneider’s serves forced North Bend out of system while Beller and Yasmine Bender dominated at the net as the Bulldogs raced to an 8-0 lead and never looked back.
With the win, the Bulldogs improved to 3-0 and, according to Oelsligle, are gaining confidence every day.
“We are swinging aggressively,” she said. “Our sets are getting better. Our passing is solid and consistent, and then most of all, I feel like they’re starting to mesh as a team.”
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family defeats North Bend Central
25-11, 25-21, 26-28, 25-13
NORTH BEND CENTRAL (2-4): Megan Ortmeier 11k, 1a, 1b; Lauren Emanuel 10k, 2a, 3b; Cierra Kluthe 2k, 2a, 1b; Ally Pojar 2k, 2a, 3b; Jenna Byrd 1k, 2b; Faith Taylor 3k, 2b; Hannah Williams 2a.
HUMPHREY/LINDSAY HOLY FAMILY (3-0): Jessica Olmer 5k, 27d, 6s; Allanah Beller 1k; Yasmine Bender 9k, 1b, 4d; Taya Beller 22k, 3a, 8b, 23d, 1s; Danie Brandl 8k, 2a, 5d; Brooklynn Magsamen 31d; Brittney Veik 1a, 43d, 1s; Allie Schneider 7k, 1a, 4b, 3d; McKenna Roelle 5d.