Ewing Lady Tigers volleyball

File photo by LuAnn Schindler / CREN

Despite starting the second set with a 0-6 deficit, Ewing’s Lady Tigers proved why they are one of the dominant forces in Nebraska Class D2 volleyball.

Ewing defeated Falls City Sacred Heart, 3-1, in the opening round of the 2018 NSAA State Volleyball Championships, with sets of 25-19, 17-25, 25-17, 25-16.

Ewing Head Coach Suz Funk said her squad never game up, but there’s room for improvement.

“Hopefully we got the nerves out.”

The Lady Tigers started the first set with a powerhouse kill from sophomore Brenna Wagner.

But the Irish wouldn’t magically disappear, keeping the set within reach.

Ewing extended the margin to 8-5, after kills by Ashley Koenig and Sidney Stallbaum and a block by Tiana Thramer.

The Irish knotted the score at nine after a kill by Ahren Ebel.

Koenig responded with an ace serve and Thramer nailed an ace to extend the lead to 12-9.

Ewing finished the first set with six serves, including two aces, from Stallbaum, before a net serve handed the ball to the Irish.

Thramer ended the first set with a drill to the floor.

In the second set, FCSH began with a 6-0 run and extended it to 16-10 before Wagner stepped to the service line, reeling off three points.

Sacred Heart’s Lauren Malone ended the set with three straight points.

The Irish struck first in the third set, but Ewing’s heavy hitters couldn’t miss, giving the Tigers a 15-5 advantage.

Thramer landed three kills, while Koenig added roof coverage, picking up a key block.

Ewing extended the lead to 21-13 after a Koenig kill and Stallbaum ace serve.

A service error and double hit added points to the Irish total, before a Thramer kill ended the set.

The score seesawed in the fourth set until a kill by Miranda Summers gave Ewing a 13-12 advantage.

Thramer and Stallbaum sent back-to-back blocks to the back of the Irish court to boost the Tigers to 16-13.

Stallbaum’s performance at the line set up points 21 through 24 for the Tigers.

Set and match point ended with a Koenig kill.

Unofficially, Thramer led Ewing with 13 kills. Stallbaum added 10 kills, four blocks and four aces serves.

Koenig nailed 11 kills and added two blocks.

Ewing will meet the winner of the Exeter-Milligan v. Wynot match, Friday, Nov. 9 at 9 a.m. on the north court at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Exeter-Milligan defeated Ewing in last year’s D-2 championship match.

For Funk, there’s still room for improvement.

“Communication needs to improve on the floor, but the girls stuck with it and didn’t give up.”

Ewing moves to 30-2 on the season.

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