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Saturday win cemented state for Syracuse VB

Lynn Wilhelm

What initially looked to be quick work in the Class C1 District Final of the Sidney Red Raiders (24-7) turned into a 5 set thriller for the Syracuse Rockets (22-1) at Kearney High School.

The Rockets came out of the gate strong in set one. With leads of 7-2 and 14-7, the 6th seeded Rockets showed their dominance over the 11th seed Red Raiders with strong kills and serving. The Raiders got as close as 16-14 when the Rockets outscored Sidney 9-2 for the win, 25-16.

In set two, Syracuse continued to keep Sidney out of system with tough serving, including two aces in a row from Jessie Moss and another ace from Delainey Cast. The Rockets did not miss a serve in sets one and two. As Sidney continued to error on their side of the net and the  Rockets continued to attack for kills, Syracuse led 18-3, 23-8, and 25-10 for the win.

As the energy level rose in the gym thinking the Rockets would sweep in 3, the Red Raiders had other thoughts. The teams were tied at 3, 15, 16, and 17, when Sidney pulled away from errors on the Syracuse side of the net for a 25-21 win.

Sidney kept the momentum into set 4. As Syracuse missed four serves and had a harder time terminating the ball, the Raiders were always a step ahead. The Rockets trailed at 1-5 and 5-13, before coming close at 15-17. The Rockets were then outscored 3-8 with a final score of 18-25, to force a fifth set.

What had turned into a discombobulated mess, finally turned to the Rockets favor in set 5. Started on a kill by Jessie Moss, which would be her 1,000 career kill, the Rockets came out strong beating the Raiders to 5 (5-3), 10 (10-5), and to win at 15 (15-8) to clinch their ticket to the Class C1 State Tournament in Lincoln at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday at approximately 3:30 against Columbus Lakeview.

Syracuse hit .212 as a team with kills distributed evenly, Cast 14, J. Moss and Lily Vollertsen 9, Lindsey Moss 8, and setter Halle Wilhelm with 5 setter dumps all for kills. J. Moss and Cast each had four service aces. In their first game over 3 sets this season, Syracuse had plenty of time to add to the dig category, J. Moss, 16; Kennedy Stanley, 15; L. Moss and Shayla Thompson 12; Cast 11; and Halle Wilhelm 10. Wilhelm dished out 45 assists in the win.  

After a team celebration on the court in Kearney, the Rockets were escorted into town with two firetrucks down Main Street and winding thru town to the high school parking lot with many fans cheering on the sidelines. The Rockets last trip to state was in 2018, when the current seniors were sophomores.

Syracuse is allotted 500 tickets and they must be purchased online. Classes A-C1 will play their first-round on Wednesday with semifinals for these classes on Friday. The Class C1 final is at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.

It’s a great week to be a Rocket volleyball player and fan!