(Syracuse) -- The Syracuse volleyball team will go for their first state tournament trip in five years on Saturday.
To get there, they will have to reverse their fortune from a year ago when they lost to Saturday’s opponent – Malcolm – in a district final. However, there’s no talk of revenge or avenging that defeat in the Syracuse gym.
“We have a new team and they have a new team,” Rockets coach Courtney VanGroningen told KMA Sports. “It’s just like any other night, and that’s how we’re going to take it.”
If it ends up like “any other night,” it will most likely be a win for Coach VanGroningen’s squad. The Rockets enter the Class C1 District Final with a 25-3 record.
“It’s been really fun watching them grow as volleyball players,” VanGroningen said of her team. “They’ve done an awesome job, and we have a great group of seniors that contribute in different roles. A lot of girls from last year’s team did have to step in and take on different roles, and they’ve done a really great job filling those shoes.”
Syracuse’s offensive attack has been plenty diverse with senior Meredith Clark averaging 3.80 kills per set and sophomore Jessie Moss and junior Lauren Meyer both averaging over three kills – 3.50 and 3.30 per set, respectively. Freshman Lindsey Moss is also averaging 1.20 kills.
Senior Brooke Snyder has made the move from libero to setter and is averaging 10.50 assists per set while the elder Moss (3.70 digs per set), Meyer (3.20) and Snyder (2.10) have been fantastic in six rotation roles. Junior Megan Wallman (2.30 digs per set), Clark (1.90) and senior Brooklyn Nordhues (1.70) are also helping in the passing category.
At the net, Clark has a team-high 45 blocks, Jessie Moss has posted 38 and Lindsey Moss has 22 swats for the season.
“Our seniors have worked really hard for us,” VanGroningen added. “(Snyder) has really stepped in to her new role and does a great job leading on the floor. (Clark) is very athletic and always finds a way to put the ball away.”
Syracuse cruised through their two subdistrict matches in straight set wins over Falls City and Fairbury. Now, they’ll look to keep it rolling Saturday when they meet Malcolm at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln.
“Whoever steps on the floor needs to serve and pass,” VanGroningen said simply. “Any team can win on any given night so we have to give it our best.”
All district finals in Class B, C1, C2, D1 and D2 will be decided on Saturday. Here’s a full schedule:
Class B District Finals
North Platte at Elkhorn South, 1:00 PM
Columbus at Skutt Catholic, 11:00 AM
Platteview at Omaha Duchesne Academy, 10:00 AM
Bennington at Alliance, 12:00 PM
Beatrice at Waverly, 11:00 AM
Northwest at Sidney, 3:00 PM
Hastings at Norris, 11:00 AM
Elkhorn at Seward, 5:30 PM
Class C1 District Finals
Lincoln Lutheran vs. Ashland-Greenwood (at Raymond Central), 5:00 PM
Wahoo vs. West Point-Beemer (at North Bend Central), 5:00 PM
St. Paul vs. Omaha Concordia (at David City), 5:00 PM
Bishop Neumann vs. Ogallala (at Bishop Neumann), 2:00 PM
Grand Island Central Catholic vs. Minden (at Kearney), 2:00 PM
Syracuse vs. Malcolm (at Nebraska Wesleyan), 6:00 PM
Columbus Scotus vs. Chadron (at Ainsworth), 2:00 PM
Mitchell vs. Wayne (at Lexington), 4:15 PM
Class C2 District Finals
Superior vs. Crofton (at Shelby-Rising City), 6:00 PM
Stanton vs. Bridgeport (at Lexington), 2:15 PM
Blue Hill vs. Centennial (at Aurora), 3:00 PM
Thayer Central vs. Wisner-Pilger (at Shelby-Rising City), 2:00 PM
Hartington Cedar Catholic vs. Burwell (at Boone Central), 6:00 PM
Hastings St. Cecilia vs. Palmyra (at Milford), 1:00 PM
Doniphan-Trumbull vs. Freeman (at Cross County), 1:00 PM
Battle Creek vs. South Loup (at Central Valley), 6:00 PM
Class D1 District Finals
Archbishop Bergan vs. Lawrence-Nelson (at Cross County), 4:00 PM
Johnson-Brock vs. Meridian (at Freeman), 6:00 PM
Humphrey/Lindsay Holy Family vs. Elgin (at Boone Central), 3:00 PM
Pleasanton vs. Overton (at Kearney), 7:00 PM
Nebraska Christian vs. Giltner (at Aurora), 7:00 PM
Diller-Odell vs. Hartington-Newcastle (at Columbus), 5:00 PM
Cambridge vs. Central Valley (at Kearney Catholic), 5:00 PM
Lutheran High Northeast vs. North Platte (at Wood River), 4:00 PM
Class D2 District Finals
Ewing vs. Garden County (at Broken Bow), 3:30 PM
BDS vs. Maywood-Hayes Center (at Kearney), 3:30 PM
Mullen vs. Crawford (at Alliance), 4:00 PM
Wynot vs. Haynnis (at Ord), 6:00 PM
Exeter-Milligan vs. Bertrand (at Adams Central), 5:00 PM
CWC vs. Humphrey St. Francis (at Riverside), 2:00 PM
Cody-Kilgore vs. Mead (at ONeill), 2:00 PM
Falls City Sacred Heart vs. Kenesaw (at Doane University), 5:00 PM
Hear the complete interview with Coach VanGroningen below.