PIERCE — The Cedar Catholic volleyball team took care of business last week.
The Lady Trojans avenged a pair of losses, knocking off two of the top teams in the state along the way to claim the MidState Conference Tournament title.
Cedar defeated Norfolk Catholic in a five-set thriller Oct. 23, then handed previously once-beaten West Point Guardian Angels a three-set loss in Friday’s Championship match.
Cedar boosted its record to 26-5 with the wins.
In Friday’s title bout, Bailey Steffen came up big, smashing 13 kills over the net. She wasn’t the only local athlete swinging well, either. Lexi Steffen slammed down nine kills, while Karly Noecker and Katelyn Dickes each had eight. Emily Schrempp set up the Cedar offense with 35 set assists in the contest.
The Cedar defense was once again led by Lexi Steffen’s blocking exhibition. The senior stand-out came up with eight ace blocks on the night. Emily Schrempp and Kallie Leise kept the ball from hitting the court with 13 digs each.
“Lexi blocked unreal. And when her hitting isn’t going well, she knows better than to get frustrated, and she focuses on the other part of her game,” Cedar Catholic Coach Adam Kuntz said. “She’s a great player for us and does a nice job.”
West Point put the first point of the match on the board, but that was the last time Cedar trailed in the first set. Cedar stretched its lead to seven points, before the Guardian Angels rallied to pull to within 24-21. Karly Noecker’s ace block ended the rally, though, giving Cedar the 25-21 first set victory.
The Blue Jays were unable to penetrate in the second set, thanks to Lexi Steffen’s blocking clinic. She put back four of her game-high nine blocks in the set. Cedar ended up claiming the second set, 25-17.
It looked as though the Lady Jays might pull out the victory in the third set, as the girls from West Point started the contest out with a 5-2 lead.
Cedar never let down though, outscoring the Big Blue 17-10 to take a 19-15 lead. The two teams traded points evenly after that with Cedar eventually earning the 31-29 marathon win.
Cedar Catholic 25 25 31
Guardian Angels 21 17 29
Cedar -Bailey Steffen, 13; Lexi Steffen, 9; Karly Noecker, 8; Katelyn Dickes, 8; Siera Becker, 6; Emily Schrempp, 2.
Cedar -Emily Schrempp, 35; Katelyn Dickes, 3; Bailey Steffen, 1.
Cedar – Maggie Steffen, 2.
Cedar-Lexi Steffen, 8; Siera Becker, 3; Bailey Steffen, 2; Emily Schrempp, 2; Katelyn Dickes, 2; Karly Noecker, 1.
Cedar-Emily Schrempp, 13; Kallie Leise, 13; Siera Becker, 10; Katelyn Dickes, 5; Maggie Steffen, 4; Bailey Steffen, 3; Karly Noecker, 2; Lexi Steffen, 1.
Cedar got off to a strong start in Tuesday’s semifinal match with Norfolk Catholic and kept that momentum throughtout to claim a four-set victory and advance to Friday’s title match.
Cedar kept Norfolk Catholic off balance to easily win the first set 25-18.
The Lady Trojans followed that up with a 25-20 victory never trailing in the second set, before falling, 21-25 in the third set.
Coach Kuntz’s crew refocused after that to earn the 25-16 win. The fourth-set victory was powered by Katelyn Dickes’ nine kills.
Dickes was on fire at the net against the Lady Knights. The senior stand-out slammed home 23 kills to lead the offense on the night.
“Before we even started this match, we knew we had a chance to avenge two of our losses that we took in early September,” Coach Kuntz said. “It was a mile mark for us to prove how much better we’ve gotten throughout the season. Tonight, we did a good job of showing the improvements we made and how much better we did get since early September.”
Dickes wasn’t the only one hitting on all cylinders at the net. Lexi Steffen finished the night with nine kills, while Siera Becker added nine.
The Cedar offense was set up by Emily Schrempp’s 44 set assists.
Kallie Leise paced the Cedar defense with 22 digs. Katelyn Dickes also worked hard to keep the ball off of the floor, coming up with 20 digs.
Cedar entered SubDistrict action as the top seed Monday at Ponca. The Lady Trojans defeated Laurel-Concord-Coleridge in three straight sets to advance to Tuesday’s title match against Wakefield.
The winner of that contest will take on the C2-8 SubDistrict champ. Neligh-Oakdale and West Holt battled Tuesday for that title.
Norfolk Catholic 18 20 25 16
Cedar Catholic 25 25 21 25
Cedar-Katelyn Dickes, 24; Lexi Steffen, 13; Siera Becker, 9; Emily Schrempp, 4; Karly Noecker, 3; Bailey Steffen, 2.
Cedar-Emily Schrempp, 44; Bailey Steffen, 2.
Cedar-Karly Noecker, 1; Maggie Steffen, 1; Kallie Leise, 1; Reggan Noecker, 1.
Cedar-Katelyn Dickes, 2; Karly Noecker, 1; Emily Schrempp, 1; Siera Becker, 1.
Cedar-Kallie Leise, 22; Katelyn Dickes, 20; Siera Becker, 16; Emily Schrempp, 15; Maggie Steffen, 8; Karly Noecker, 5; Bailey Steffen, 2; Lexi Steffen, 2; Liz Steffen, 1.