GRAND ISLAND — Even though Columbus Scotus won five out of six sets while beating Grand Island Central Catholic twice this season, coach John Petersen prepared the Shamrocks to go five with the Crusaders this week.
That proved to be a wise decision.
Class C-1 No. 2 Scotus closed out its first-round state tournament match with a 6-1 run to escape No. 10 GICC 25-18, 21-25, 25-20, 15-25, 15-10 Thursday at Grand Island Senior High.
“On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of this week, we had played a 15-point game anticipating a fifth set,” Pedersen said. “Our key in that is we want to minimize errors.
“You can't have many passing errors, serving errors and hitting errors. You've got to be aggressive but yet you've got to focus on not giving away points.”
The Shamrocks (24-3) did that, committing only two fifth-set errors compared to seven by the Crusaders (23-11).
“We came out and missed our serve, and then we missed hits, so we had a couple of little errors, GICC coach Sharon Zavala said. “At that point, we kind of had them on their heels but that happens.”
Four of the Central Catholic miscues came in a row as Scotus turned a 9-all tie into a 14-9 lead. A kill by Kelsie Scheel kept the Crusaders alive before Lauran Hellbusch's 18th kill of the match — and fourth of the fifth set — sent the Shamrocks into Friday's semifinals.
“We didn't make quite as many errors in that set, and they made a few more hitting errors,” Pedersen said. “We get up 3-0 and then boom, they're up 4-3. I knew it was going to be a dogfight.”
Payton Chohon added 16 kills for Columbus Scotus, while Kara Moore had 44 set assists.
GICC was led by its outside hitters. Sam Moravec recorded a match-high 25 kills and Emma Benton added 16. Lucky Gratopp finished with 49 set assists.
GICC (23-11)......................................18 25 20 25 10
At Columbus Scotus (24-3)......................25 21 25 15 15
GICC (kills-aces-blocks): Sadie Goering 0-0-0, Sam Moravec 25-2-3, Haley Benton 6-0-0, Kelsie Scheel 6-1-1, Lucky Gratopp 2-1-1, Emma Benton 16-1-1. Elysse Gratopp 3-0-0.
CS: Kara Moore 1-0-2, Alyssa Foltz 8-1-0, Allison Bos 0-1-0, Carley Foltz 4-3-0, Emily Kosch 0-0-0, Maeghan Pieper 2-0-2, Payton Chohon 16-2-2, Lauran Hellbucsh 18-0-1.
Set assists: GICC 53 (L. Gratopp 49, Scheel 3, Moravec 1); CS 47 (Moore 44, C. Foltz 3).