GRAND ISLAND – As the season has progressed the York Dukes have developed offensive threats that were not part of their attack on a regular basis early in the season.
York improved to 15-10 on the year as they defeated the Schuyler Warriors 25-15 and 25-10 and the Lexington Minutemaids 25-19 and 25-17.
Saturday will be a whole different beast when the Dukes face Seward at 10 a.m. and then host Northwest at 1 p.m.
After those two games the top four teams will advance to pool play, with the two winners hooking up in the conference championship.
York head coach Chris Ericson talked about how the Dukes have been able to become a team that offers more than just outside hitters.
“Teams defenses can’t just focus on our outsides like they did early on in the season, we are bringing a lot more to the table offensively. Tonight I feel we kind of picked up where we left off on Thursday night at Milford,” said Ericson. “I think we did a nice job not only on serve receive but defense and getting some balls to our setters who are able to spread it around.
York 2, Schuyler 0
The Dukes were able to get out to leads in both sets against the Warriors. Junior Addison Legg had eight kills and five ace serves, while sophomore Masa Scheierman belted seven winners and added 1 ½ ace blocks.
Schuyler was hanging around in the first set trailing just 5-3, but after back-to-back serve receive errors, a middle kill from Erin Case and another from Scheierman the score read Dukes 10, Warriors 3.
Schuyler never got any closer than five points the rest of the way as York went on to the 12-point set win.
In the second set Legg served up the first 10 points, four on aces,and the Dukes set sail to an easy win by the final score of 25-10.
York led by as many as 17-3, but Ericson used a few bench players who were able to close out the match.
York had 24 kills in the match to just seven for the Warriors who were led by senior Kinzie Petersen with three kills and three ace blocks. York had six ace serves and two ace blocks, while the Warriors were credited with three ace serves, two by Tamara Witzel.
York 2, Lexington 0
The Duke middle attack was on fire as junior Erin Case had eight kills and Scheierman was the team leader with 12. As a team the Dukes hammered 28 kills to 13 for the Minutemaids.
The Lexington girls were led by Jackie Ostrom with four kills and three from Cordelia Harbison. York got out in front in the first set as Case had a pair of kills and Scheierman a cross-court winner to give the Dukes a 7-4 lead.
Lexington cut into the lead to make it 7-6 and eventually tie the first set at 7-7 on a wide York attack.
York then went on a 3-0 run to make it 10-7 and started to pull away at 12-8 forcing a Lexington timeout.
The Dukes built the lead to 23-15 before the Maids closed on a 4-2 run, still coming up short.
Lexington went out to a 3-0 lead in the second set and still led 7-5 when Case got consecutive kills to tie the set at 7-7.
The Dukes broke away with a 10-2 run to make it 17-9 and closed out the match with a Scheierman ace block.
York recorded nine ace serves with Brynn Hirschfeld the team leader with five. Junior Maddie Portwine also had two ace blocks.
Ericson said the success of the middle attack in the match was not something they really planned.
“It really wasn’t planned. Erin had a few goods swings early in the set and the setters don’t forget those things,” the York coach stated. “There were just a couple of rotations that we knew their better blockers were on the pins so we wanted to utilize something out of the middle of the net.”
Ericson said he likes the matchups going into Saturday and is looking forward to getting a third shot at Seward.
“When we had our schedule come out I couldn’t have drawn it up any better. I love our Saturday matchups, because we are going to get our third game against Seward, that we know we can compete with and try to find a way to come on top of this season,” Ericson explained. “It will be a tough one at 1 p.m. against Northwest. You get their students in the student section and it becomes a hostile environment pretty quick. These girls are ready for that. In past years we haven’t always come over for this tournament excited for who we are playing and this week has been full of excitement for these girls. They are ready and it’s kind of a look ahead to what we will face in the district tournament.”