Despite the last seed in the 10-team field at the Centennial Conference Tournament, Aquinas Catholic volleyball found a win in pool play and wrapped up the weekend with a seventh-place showing.
Aquinas earned an upset of ratings contender Lincoln Christian, winning 25-19, 25-22, after trailing 25-22 in the second set.
Other results included losses to C-1 No. 8 Columbus Scotus 25-23, 28-26 and 25-11, 25-22 to C-2 No. 6 Wahoo Neumann on Thursday and to C-2 No. 3 Grand Island Central Catholic 25-14, 25-16 on Saturday
"I was worried after sitting for two matches that we would be sluggish against Christian, but we played pretty consistently overall," coach Jody Pelan said about starting Saturday having to wait before beginning competition. "We struggled with running our offense at the start of the second set, but it was nice to see us come back after about an 8-10 point deficit and win it in two.
"I thought the girls showed some mental toughness in overcoming the deficit, and that will be important going forward.”
Gabrielle Oborny lead the match with seven kills, while Madi Jelinek, Gracyn Wollmer, and Jadyn Siroky each chipped in four each. Macey Thege had 10 assists, while Bethany Emswiler and Justine Beringer lead in the back row in digs with 11 and 10, respectively.
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Aquinas started the tourney Thursday at Grand Island Central Catholic. Teams were assigned into two different pools then played round robin to determine the first, third and fifth-place matches. Going 1-3 meant the Monarchs did not qualify for a placing match and instead settled for a seventh-place tie.
Just about two weeks after a three-set sweep against the Shamrocks, the Monarchs nearly pulled off the upset. Oborny led with 11 kills while Wollmer added five. Thege and Emswiler had 10 and 11 assists and Beringer led with seven digs. Siroky added two blocks.
In the Neumann loss, Oborny and Siroky tallied four kills each, Thege put together seven assists, Oborny blocked two shots and Beringer had four digs.
Saturday morning back at home, Oborny again led with 10 kills against GICC, Thege matched that number in assists and Beringer dug up seven shots.
"We played well against GICC at the beginning of the first set, but we broke down on serve receive after our 14th point and could never really get going after that," Pelan said. "We stepped up our play in the second set, but again, we made some unforced errors which made it difficult to run our offense. GICC is a very good team with a lot of weapons, and we were outmatched in several positions.”
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