OVERTON — There’s a new girl at the dance.
The Sumner-Eddyville-Miller girls have advanced to the second day of the Fort Kearny Conference volleyball tournament for the first time in, well, who knows?
“These girls haven’t seen it,” first-year coach Adam Kuntz said.
The Mustangs defeated Amherst 25-18, 15-25, 25-21 Monday night in Overton and will face top-seeded Overton at 6 p.m. today in Overton. Axtell and Elm Creek will play in the later semifinal.
One of the preseason goals for the Mustangs was to finish in the top four in the conference. Entering the tournament as the fifth seed and playing an Amherst team that had beaten the Mustangs earlier in the year, the S-E-M girls faced a challenge to achieve that goal.
“These girls, with the history they’ve had, this was a big game for them, and they felt the pressure,” Kuntz said. “This is the first time these girls felt pressure to win and knew they needed to in a big situation.”
Early on, they reveled in that role. Forcing the action at the net, the Mustangs (12-10) bolted to a 16-7 lead. Brieanna James had three kills, Alicia Pierce two and Shaylee Burr two as S-E-M built a commanding lead.
But Amherst (10-11) finished on a 5-2 run, then found its stride in the second set. Leading 12-9, the Broncos served up five aces, three by Ashley Crites and two by Jessica Eckhout to build a 20-10 lead and coast in for the victory.
“We completely lost momentum there,” Kuntz said. “We’ve been passing the ball well lately, but it was a little bit of those nerves.”
Amherst built the lead with five dominating points finished off by three kills from Kacie Jurgens and two by Courtney Martenson.
“We didn’t pass well during the first set. During the second set we passed much better which allowed our hitters to be able to attack the ball,” Amherst coach Kari Radke said. “During the third set we didn’t take advantage of the momentum when it swung in our favor. We made too many unforced errors at critical points during the game.”
Meanwhile, S-E-M regrouped in the third set. From a 14-14 tie, it was their turn to make big plays with Pierce scoring three kills of her 11 kills in a 4-point run and James, who had 13 kills, getting the other point.
James and Kasie Dittmar combined for a block to make it five straight points and S-E-M took control.
Watching his team regroup, count on its senior leadership and win some scrappy points, Kuntz said he was seeing his team mature.
“We have a good chance maybe to make a surprise tomorrow,” he said. “We’ve played some of these teams in our conference pretty close and now is the time of the year to be playing good volleyball and hopefully we’re doing that.”
Martenson and Sydney Taubenheim led Amherst with eight kills each and Tristen Trampe had five. Crites had 12 assists.
Overton 2, Elwood 0
OVERTON — Overton advanced to the FKC semifinals with a 25-9, 25-21 win over Elwood.
Madison Beavers pounded seven kills to lead the Eagles (18-4), the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Kinzy Enochs finished with four kills, three ace serves and 11 assists.
For Elwood (4-17), Anna Eggers had four kills and Tiffany Finkral had three. Eggers also had two blocks and Katie Kleine had seven assists.
Elwood 2, Loomis 1
OVERTON — Anna Eggers ripped 15 kills and made six blocks to lead Elwood to a 25-19, 23-25, 25-14 win over Loomis in the bunny bracket of the FKC Tournament.
Katie Kleine had 21 assists and Jordan Hagan and Brittany Dickau had three ace serves each for the Pirates. Tiffany Finkral added six kills.
For Loomis (2-17), Colette Thorell had four kills, three ace serves and seven assists. Terah Maaske added two kills, three aces and four assists.
Axtell 2, Wilcox-Hildreth 0
ELM CREEK — Axtell pulled out a 25-23, 25-21 win over Wilcox-Hildreth in the quarterfinals of the FKC Tournament at Elm Creek.
Laura Lundeen and Hannah Kring had nine kills each for the Wildcats (13-6), while Kit Wells had eight kills. Gabbie Nickel finished with 31 assists and Kring had three blocks.
For Wilcox-Hildreth (8-11), Rachel Arehart had nine kills and Jessica Harms had seven. Harms also had two blocks and 14 digs while Reilly Jenkins had 21 assists.
Axtell will play Elm Creek in tonight’s 7 p.m. semifinal at Overton. Wilcox-Hildreth will play Eustis-Farnam in a consolation game at 6 p.m.
Elm Creek 2, Eustis-Farnam 0
ELM CREEK — Second-seeded Elm Creek fought off a tough challenge from Eustis-Farnam in the FKC Tournament quarterfinals, escaping with a 25-17, 30-28 victory.
Torie Miner had 12 kills for the Buffaloes (14-7) and Shelbi Brown had nine. Shelby Ferguson tallied 22 set assists.
Statistics for Eustis-Farnam (9-13) were not available.
Eustis-Farnam 2, Pleasanton 1
ELM CREEK — Eustis-Farnam advanced to the FKC quarterfinals with a 25-13, 20-25, 26-24 thriller with Pleasanton.
Eustis-Farnam’s statistics were not available.
For Pleasanton (2-18), Mallary Paitz had 12 kills and a block. Kristen Tolles had five kills and two ace serves. Autumn Pritchard had four kills and three ace serves. And Taylor Nichols had 15 set assists.
Wood River 3, Adams Central 1
WOOD RIVER — Hope Lambrecht had 16 kills and Alexis Burghardt had 14 kills as Wood River defeated Adams Central 25-21, 21-25, 25-20, 25-15 Monday night in the LouPlatte Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Wood River.
Kelsey Bahe had 40 set assists and two ace serves for the Eagles (18-4). Burghardt and Lambrecht added 11 digs each.
Statistics for Adams Central (9-13) were not provided.
Wood River will play Ord at 6 p.m. tonight in the LPC semifinals at Wood River.
The late game pairs Kearney Catholic against St. Paul.
Arcadia/Loup City 3, Gibbon 2
ST. PAUL — Arcadia/Loup City advanced out of the bunny bracket of the LPC Tournament with a 25-14, 22-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-13 win over Gibbon Monday in St. Paul.
Jessica Eurek had 12 kills for the Rebels (5-11). Alexa Goc had 10 assists.
Statistics for Gibbon (1-19) were not available.
St. Paul 3, Arcadia-Loup City 0
ST. PAUL — St. Paul improved to 20-2 with a 25-8, 25-9, 25-21 victory over Arcadia/Loup City in the quarterfinals of the LPC Tournament Monday in St. Paul.
Statistics for St. Paul were not available.
For Arcadia/Loup City, Jessica Eurek had seven kills and two blocks and Bailee Griffith had three ace serves.
St. Paul will play Kearney Catholic in tonight’s semifinals at 7 p.m. at Wood River.
Minden 3, Cozad 0
MINDEN — Carlie Bauer scored 18 kills and Addi Woodward added 10 kills as Minden defeated Cozad 25-16, 25-18, 25-18 in a regular-season game Monday night in Minden.
Alie Rowse ahd five kills, 38 assists and 13 digs for the Whippets (18-2), Bauer had two ace serves and 10 digs and Jenna Denney had three kills, an ace, and 11 digs.
Statistics for Cozad (7-12) were not provided.
OVERTON — There’s a new girl at the dance.