Lakeview had three hitters reach 11 or more kills, had four hitters collect more than 20 kills and served up nine aces but struggled to put the finishing touches on a road win at North Bend and paid the price in a five-set loss to the Tigers on Thursday.
The Lady Vikes won the first two sets 25-17, 25-16 but then lost the next three 22-25, 25-27, 8-15. The defeat dropped the team to 21-10 and meant a losing end to the regular season schedule.
Lakeview moves on to the sub-district round on Monday night and a fourth matchup this season with crosstown foe Scotus Central Catholic. The Shamrocks own a 2-1 edge over the Lady Vikes in 2019.
Lilly Rowe was tops offensively with 19 kills, leading teammates Mallori Kucera (16) and Maddi Vogt (11) who were also in double figures. Becca Valdez was the top performer in the back row with 42 digs, the most of three others who were also in double digits: Vogt (23), Rowe (22), Reese Janssen (21).
Janssen also had 54 assists and Vogt three aces. Lakeview also had 10 serving errors to go with its nine aces - five of those were extremely significant in the third set with the Lady Vikes looking to close out the sweep.
"Third set, we missed five serves, and that's just enough, losing 22-25. We really needed to finish in there," coach K.C. Belitz said. "Fourth and fifth, to be fair, North Bend's block really kind of took over on our offense.
"We started getting blocked or making some errors. That's what happens when you give a good team some confidence by letting them back in a match you had handled."
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Following the North Bend comeback forcing a fifth and deciding set, the two teams played mostly back-and-forth points to 8-8 where the Tigers scored four in a row and took control.
The win was the fifth in a row for a streaking NBC team that was coming off a win over Howells-Dodge on Tuesday and claiming the East Husker Conference Tournament championship on Saturday.
The loss for Lakeview was the second of the week following the split of a triangular in Wahoo on Tuesday. The Lady Vikes have found tough sledding recently, splitting eight matches since the start of the Central Conference Tournament last week.
Of course, the schedule has also gotten tougher including rematches with Scotus, No. 1 St. Paul, No. 7 Norfolk Catholic, C-2 No. 5 Lutheran High Northeast and C-2 No. 7 Wahoo Neumann all since Oct. 5.
Lakeview was 14-2 through the first month of the season then finished 7-8.
"When we've got a team down, we've got to finish," Belitz said. "When you let up just enough to finish a few serves and not go full speed on defense, it just takes so little. There's such a thin margin in this game. Once momentum goes the other way...we've all seen how that can end."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.