KEARNEY — The Kearney High School volleyball team used a combination of moxie, gumption and a variety of lineups to rally from a 2-0 deficit and beat Lincoln Southwest in 15-25, 27-29, 27-25, 25-22, 15-6 Tuesday at Kearney.
The two-hour match featured 25 ties and 12 lead changes with the Bearcats (4-1) dusting themselves off after losing a second set in which they led 7-1 early and then 23-22 and 26-25 down the stretch.
“I talked with the team afterwards … in the six years this coaching staff has been together this is one of the biggest wins we’ve had in this type of situation,” said KHS head coach Jessica Day. “I’m really proud of them. Their backs were against the wall.”
The Silverhawks (3-2) were paced by Fresno State commit Shaylee Myers. The junior outside amassed 28 kills and 16 digs but KHS slowed her and the ‘Hawks down during the final three sets.
Kearney senior middle Lily Novacek said, “We used a lot more subs than usual and fought through adversity. We started to get more block touches and that helps out the defense. We wanted it so bad … we’ve beaten them before but this means so much more.”
Eleven Bearcats played with sophomore Tatum Rusher serving as the libero during the final three sets and digging 18 balls. Seven Bearcats recorded a kill with Novacek taking over in the fifth set. The UNK commit had five kills and two blocks to help KHS grab an 8-0 lead.
Day said, “Lily put the team on her back and took us there. That’s a senior for you … her and (setter) Lucy Bartee are a great combo pair for us.”
Novacek finished the match with 19 kills and four blocks. Aspen Rusher added nine kills while Sidney Provice and Kaleigh Hatcher had eight. Bartee was credited with 48 assists.
The Bearcats finished with three more kills than Southwest, dug up 14 more balls and took advantage of 15 service errors.
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