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Kearney High School beats Lincoln North Star in Theison Anderson’s debut
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Kearney High School beats Lincoln North Star in Theison Anderson’s debut

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Kearney High volleyball

 Tatum Rusher makes a serving attempt after Kearney High volleyball scored a point. The Bearcats recorded 10 aces in their 3-1 victory over Lincoln North Star High School on Thursday, Aug. 27. 

Theison Anderson returned to Kearney with a level of expectations and the desire to be part of a winning volleyball atmosphere. After beating Lincoln North Star in his season debut Thursday night, it is safe to say he is off to a hot start.

KEARNEY —Theison Anderson returned to Kearney with a level of expectations and the desire to be part of a winning volleyball atmosphere.

After beating Lincoln North Star in his season debut Thursday night, it is safe to say he is off to a hot start.

The Bearcats defeated the Navigators 3-1 and Anderson was pleased by the way Kearney came up strong in the end.

“The girls played fantastic,” he said. “I told them in the locker room that they are incredibly coachable. They’ve done everything that I asked without question and they played their butts off.”

The Bearcats made plays from both ends on the court but that was not Anderson’s biggest takeaway.

“The biggest thing that stood out to me is we don’t let what the other team is doing affect us,” he said. “They might go on a few runs here and there, but we just weathered that.”

Kearney’s outside hitters were making vicious kills, led by Avery Franzen, who tallied 15 kills. Kaleigh Hatcher wasn’t too far off as she spiked 10 kills and two blocks, and Tatum Rusher, with nine kills, led with 15 digs and three blocks.

Kearney also recorded 10 ace serves. Elli Mehlin had three of those and Meghan Dalhke and Analise Luke tied with two each.

Luke added five kills and three blocks and, defensively, Karsyn Worley recorded 14 digs. Mehlin added 13 and Dahlke had 11.

“I think we played with real control and discipline,” Franzen said. It’s what we’ve been working on in practice a lot. So I’m just happy that we got to pull through the game.”

Hatcher thought the defensive efficiency played a role in Kearney’s win, and it would capitalize offensively after making a stop on defense.

“Our defense was good, so it helped us with our hitting, and I thought we played scrappy, and we had fun,” Hatcher said.

After winning the first two sets 25-22, 25-21, Kearney was on the verge of sweeping the Navigators. However, the Bearcats took their foot off the gas early in the second set.

Trailing by 10, Anderson called timeout to regroup and Kearney cut the lead down to six. Eventually, North Star took Set 3, 24-14, but Kearney was starting to regain momentum, which led to a 25-16 win in the final set.

“When I called that timeout, kinda late in that set, I said, ‘I don’t care if we lose this set. If we lose, we lose our way, and we’re going to take momentum into the fourth set, and that’s exactly what we did,” Anderson said.

As Anderson was impressed by Kearney’s performance, he challenges his Bearcats to develop consistency. In the last two sets, Kearney was coming from behind, and Anderson hopes to avoid that as they go on the road next week.

“When we’re up, we are really tough to defend, but we could have some low moments where we make some mental errors,” Anderson said. “So building that consistency — we’re a young team — we don’t have a lot of varsity experience last year. I think that’s going to come with practice and more game time.”

The Bearcats will be back on the court next Tuesday as they take on Grand Island Northwest High School. On Thursday, they are at Lincoln Southwest High School. The First serve will start at 6:30 p.m.

Theison Anderson returned to Kearney with a level of expectations and the desire to be part of a winning volleyball atmosphere.

After beating Lincoln North Star in his season debut Thursday night, it is safe to say he is off to a hot start.

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