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One side rushed the court. The other stared in disbelief.
Most of the pre-game talk heard around the Neligh-Oakdale gym Thursday night included the world sweep, suggesting the match against Elkhorn Valley was nothing more than a formality for Elgin Public/Pope John as the Wolfpack were expected to punch another ticket to the Class D1 state tournament.
But someone forgot to tell the Falcons.
Elkhorn Valley made that clear as the players circled around each other after receiving their district championship trophy — and their ticket to the state tournament — before cheering "brooma-sweepa-momma-sweepa-momma-sweepa-broom" to the delight of the hundreds of fans who had rushed the court.
A near capacity crowd watched Antelope County's biggest volleyball match of the season as 16-11 Elkhorn Valley swept 25-5 EPPJ — 25-23, 25-23, 25-19 — to win the D1-3 district championship.
Although the Wolfpack sit fourth in wildcard points, a stacked D1-1 district has doomed EPPJ's chances at qualifying for state after Thursday's loss. No. 1 Meridian will get the first wildcard after a 3-0 loss to Johnson-Brock last night. As for the second wildcard, No. 3 Bruning-Davenport/Shickley fell earlier in the week 3-0 to Meridian and likely will get the nod.
BDS is third in power points and .172 points ahead of the No. 4 Wolfpack. Those less than two tenths of a point will likely keep the 25-5 Wolfpack home next weekend.
Official state pairings will not be announced until Saturday after the rest of the district finals are played around the state.