Chadron's volleyball team won the Western Conference Tournament Saturday, but it was anything but easy.
"It's nice to get a big win, especially at home, in the Western Conference Tournament, it's a huge tournament," CHS Coach Blakelee Hoffman said.
The match-up in the Western Conference Volleyball championship game wasn't a surprise. However, how the teams got there was. Chadron rolled over Gehring in the first match of the day.
Gehing bounced back to beat Alliance in the second match of pool play. Gering won the first game 25-21 but they lost the second set 32-30 in a nail-biter. Despite Alliance having momentum, Gering rallied to win the third set 25-19.
Chadron and Alliance faced off in the final match of pool play. Chadron got off to a great start with a 25-12 first set win. But the Cardinals lost steam and Alliance caught fire. The Bulldogs won the next two sets 25-21 and 25-23 to leave all three teams tied with 1-1 records.
Thanks to a tiebreaker, Chadron made the finals against Sidney. The tiebreaker came down to points allowed. The Cardinals won in straight sets against Gering and only allowed 12 points in the first set in their loss to Alliance so they won the pool with Gering taking second.
On the other side of pool play, Sidney rolled to two easy straight set wins over Scottsbluff (25-9 and 25-15) and Mitchell (25-4 and 25-20) to send the Red Raiders to the championship game.
"They have a very strong volleyball program," Coach Hoffman said. "We've always just battled back and forth over the years."
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This round went to Chadron as the Cardinals played their best match of the day at the right time and won the title with a 25-19 and 25-15 victory.
Seniors Shea Bailey (11 kills against Sidney) and Allie Ferguson (8 kills) each had a great tournament hitting and Tyleigh Strotheide was solid setting the ball - 16 assists in the finals - as well as helping with blocks. The biggest blocks and kills came from junior Anika Burke (2 blocks), and sophomore Olivia Reed (4 blocks in the finals).
Those three dominated at the net, especially in the championship match. Emma Cogdill also had two nice kills from the edge and three blocks in the championship match. Libero Jacey Garrett, another sophomore making an impact, played a great tournament keeping points in play.
Coach Hoffman had a hard time singling out outstanding players.
"Honestly it is hard to pick one," she said. "Everyone stepped up and played such a smart game. We passed the ball well. Everyone played so well."
Chadron's pool outplayed Sidney's pool in each matchup as Alliance took 5th over Mitchell and Gering took third with a win over Scottsbluff.
Chadron and Sidney face off again Tuesday at Sidney. The Cardinals head to Valentine Saturday in tournament action.