Fall sports are well underway, and it has been a glorious start all around.
Neligh-Oakdale is 2-0 in both football and volleyball, Elgin Public/Pope John’s volleyball squad was dominant in their first action of the year, O’Neill and Boone Central/Newman Grove will face off this Friday in one of the top football games of the season and Niobrara/Verdigre hosted a cross country meet that saw Creighton’s boys and Neligh-Oakdale’s girls take second in a loaded field.
With all the talented athletes performing during the first couple weeks of the season, one of the more exciting things to watch so far this year has been the area volleyball teams. What’s really amazing about these teams is not just how strong they are all-around, but how deep some of the teams are.
Take Elgin Public/Pope John as an example. As two-time district runner-ups, they obviously have plenty of talent. They kicked off their campaign last week with a dominant showing at the Stuart Double Triangular, beating Stuart and Chambers/Wheeler Central, two great teams in their own respects.
They were led by seniors such as Liz Selting, Amy Nelson and Jordan Mescher. However, junior Grace Henn provided 11 kills. Junior Nicki Payne and sophomore Ally Wemhoff had eight and seven digs, respectively. While those girls didn’t fill out the stat sheet as much as some of the seniors, they put up some very impressive numbers at a triangular that had four of the top teams in Antelope and Holt counties.
That seems to be the same story all across the area. So many teams have good senior leadership and very, very talented underclassmen.
Elkhorn Valley has players such as Hannah Ollendick, who, as a freshman, had 143 kills in 2015. Creighton returns junior Sydney Walton, who was an all-conference selection in 2015. Riverside junior Maddie Walkowiak recorded 154 kills last season.
That’s just three examples of the young talent that helps make the area so deep in volleyball. That’s just three examples of why volleyball teams in Holt, Knox, Antelope and Boone counties will be so good for at least a few years to come.
One last note on Sam Foltz
I wrote a few weeks ago about the death of Sam Foltz. This weekend, I had the chance to be at the Husker game in Lincoln and I just wanted to say how amazed I am at how well they honored his memory.
There was a constant crowd near the newly-finished memorial at the northwest corner of the stadium. His jersey was carried out by fellow special teams players and stayed on the bench throughout the game. Drew Brown was awarded a scholarship in Foltz’s name, surrounded by Sam’s family. The tunnel walk included Sam’s nephews. A moment of silence was held before the national anthem.
The moment that made the whole situation real, however, was when Nebraska took the field for a punt, minus the punter. You may have seen it already. Let me tell you, the videos on Facebook don’t do it justice. I’ve never heard a crowd make as much noise as they did for that minute. There was not a dry eye in the stadium. The emotion in the stadium at that moment was unrivaled. It is one experience I will never forget.
Game of the Week
This week, you can find me down in Albion as Boone Central/Newman Grove hosts O’Neill in a battle of undefeated, top 10 teams. On the volleyball schedule, Elkhorn Valley hosts Neligh-Oakdale in what promises to be a tough match.
Remember to get your suggestions in for next week’s game of the week. Let us know where you want us to be. Simply tell us a football or volleyball game you want featured and why. Facebook us, comment below or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Sports Editor at Antelope County News/The Orchard News, Logan is from Kearney and has a diverse sports background, including several seasons playing semi-pro football. All columns here are the opinion of the writer only and do not represent the views of the Antelope County News or Pitzer Digital.