Columbus High has lost seven of its last 10 volleyball matches to Kearney including in the 2019 postseason.
Riding a wave of momentum following three wins in four since a week ago, the Discoverers had designs on turning their recent history against the Bearcats around. Trouble in the back row prevented that from happening.
Columbus lost to Kearney in straight sets 25-16, 25-13, 25-19 on a night in which the hosts dominated at the serving line. CHS committed 16 receiving errors for 16 Kearney aces.
The defense also had trouble slowing down 5-11 Bearcat middle hitter Aspen Rusher. Rusher had 12 kills on 17 swings without an error for a blistering .706 hitting percentage.
Lily Novacek, a 6-1 middle, was nearly as effective with 9 kills, 17 attempts and one error - an attack rate of .471.
Columbus junior Josie Garrett led her squad with nine kills but the Discoverers converted at a rate of just. 136 and rarely found any rhythm because of the issues in serve receive. Senior setter Sadie Evans had 23 assists and three aces, and junior Claire Renner had nine digs.
Kearney, No. 8 in the latest Journal Star Class A ratings, already had one win over Columbus this season at the Norfolk tournament on Aug. 29. Rusher and Novacek split 18 kills that afternoon but the Bearcats had just four aces. Kearney won 25-16, 28-26.
Kearney lost its opener to North Star and dropped a three-setter to Gretna on Saturday but has otherwise defeated No. 9 Lincoln Southwest and Class B No. 8 Grand Island Northwest.
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