DAVID CITY – The Mead Raider volleyball team split a pair of contests while competing at the D1-2 sub-district tournament in Fremont on Oct. 26-27.
The Raiders opened the tournament with a 22-25, 25-19, 25-22 and 25-16 victory over rival Yutan on Oct. 26.
The Raiders started slowly, got down big and ended up losing to the Chieftains in set one.
“We progressively got better as the match went on which was good to see but we need to start faster. We got down big early in set 1, 3-11, and did a good job of clawing back to make it close but we couldn’t finish the comeback,” said Mead Coach Keshia Havelka.
The Raiders bounced back to win set two, behind strong serving from senior Kyla Hrdlicka. She led the Raiders with five aces from behind the service line.
Set three went back and forth and was in doubt until the Raiders got a kill from senior Becca Halbmaier and an ace serve from Hrdlicka to close out the set 25-22.
The Raiders built an early lead in set four and were able to roll to the 25-16 win. Mead finished with 16 kills in the fourth set.
Junior Brianna Lemke was a force all over the floor finishing with 16 kills and 13 digs.
Junior setter Emily Quinn handed out 41 set assists and added 10 digs.
Halbmaier hammered 13 kills while hitting .435. She also finished with five digs and two blocks.
Senior Riley Langemeier led the Raiders defensively with 19 digs along the back row.
The win advanced the Raiders into Tuesday’s sub-district final against Archbishop Bergan.
The Raiders lost for just the sixth time this season in four sets 21-25, 25-21, 21-25 and 15-25.
Service errors hurt the Raiders in set one. Mead had seven errors in the first set, but was still around in the end.
“Set one was probably the one that I would have like to have back as we committed seven service errors in the set but still had a shot at the end,” said Havelka.
Sets two and three went back-and-forth with each team winning one.
The fourth set was tied at ten, but the Knights ran off eight straight points and the Raiders could not recover.
Lemke and Halbmaier combined for 27 kills against the Knights and Quinn handed out 39 set assists and added 20 digs defensively.
Halbmaier added five aces from behind the service line.
Lauren Holloway added ten digs for the Raiders.
Despite the loss to Bergan, the Raiders were able to advance to their fourth straight district final, rewarded for their strong play throughout the season with a wildcard berth.
Mead earned one of the four D-1 wildcards and entered the Class D1-4 district final in David City as the four-seed and took on #13 seed Humphrey/Lindsey Holy Family on Halloween.
The Raiders as they been accustom lately, dropped the first set 20-25.
Mead regrouped and was able to win the final three sets 25-17, 25-16 and 25-19.
The win advanced the Raiders into the state tournament for the first time since 2017 when they nearly pulled off an upset over top-seeded Exeter-Milligan.
“We struggled to get settled into our game in the first set and fell behind 5-12. We have been tested and it prepared us to handle the pressure when the season is on the line,” said Havelka.
The Mead serve took over in sets two through four leading the Raiders to three straight set wins.
Mead hit .229 and had three players finish in double-digit attacks.
Lemke led the Raiders in kills with 19 and hit .351. Luetkenhaus and Halbmaier combined to add 23 more.
Langemeier played extremely well along the back row while piling up 19 digs and 24 good serve receptions. Lemke chipped in with 17 more.
Quinn dished out 47 set assists and finished with 20 points scored from behind the service line.
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