One Antelope County team took a step closer to the state tournament on Monday night in Niobrara while another saw its season come to an end.
Clearwater-Orchard started the night out by taking on Boyd County in the opening match of the D1-6 tournament. The Cyclones were able to outlast a determined Spartan squad 25-19, 25-18, 13-25, 23-25, 15-6.
The Cyclones came sprinting out of the blocks, taking the first two sets with relative ease over the familiar opponent in Boyd County. However, the Spartans wouldn't go down easy, running away with the third set before rallying from a 19-11 deficit in the fourth to send it to a decisive fifth set. After being tied at four in the fifth set, Clearwater-Orchard reeled off 11 of the next 13 points for the win.
JoCee Johnston had a monster game for Clearwater-Orchard. She had five blocks to go along with 29 kills. She hit on 65.9 percent of her kill attempts to keep Clearwater-Orchard's season alive. Avery Cheatum added eight more kills for the Cyclones as well.
The serving was strong for O-C against Boyd County, with the team putting down 12 aces, with five coming off the arm of Grace Rittscher and three from Julian Tuttle. Tuttle was busy offensively all game, distributing 43 assists while Rittscher did her work on defense by pulling up 40 digs.
The win sent the Cyclones on to take on fellow Antelope County foe Elgin Public/Pope John. Clearwater-Orchard showed plenty of fight in the match, but were ultimately put away by the Wolfpack in straight sets 25-16, 27-25, 25-21, ending the Cyclones' season.
Johnston was again impressive, putting down 13 kills and six blocks. Katie Stearns added seven more kills while Cheatum had six.
Rittscher and Tuttle did work from the serving line once again, combining for seven aces in the game.
For Elgin Public/Pope John, the four-headed monster of Lydia Behnk, Grace Henn, Paige Meis and Kaylee Martinsen was too much for the opponent once again. They posted eight, seven, seven and six kills, respectively. Those four kept setters Allyson Wemhoff and Nicki Payne busy as they posted 18 and 12 assists, respectively.
Clearwater-Orchard vs Boyd County
Clearwater-Orchard vs Elgin Public/Pope John