NEVADA – A fast pace on offense helped No. 5 Nevada overwhelm South Tama Oct. 31 in a Class 3A regional semifinal volleyball match-up at the Nevada High School Field House.
Nevada rolled to a 25-17 victory in the opening set and the Cubs just got stronger and stronger as the match continued. The Cubs coasted to a 25-16 victory in the second set and a 25-12 triumph in the third to earn their 10th-consecutive victory, improving to 31-11 overall.
The only time Nevada struggled was at the start of the opening set as South Tama (18-13) took a 9-6 early lead. But a Mara Rhodes kill and Jessica Helton ace turned the tide for the Cubs, and three kills and a block from middle blocker Kati Cassabaum helped Nevada pull away.
In the second set Nevada took a 23-16 lead, and an Abby Stephenson ace and Megan Pringnitz block finished off the Trojans. The third set was all Nevada as the Cubs jumped out to an 11-4 lead and never looked back.
Cassabaum was a dominant force in the middle for Nevada as she hammered home 11 kills and put up three blocks. Megan Pringnitz also came up big, totaling 10 kills and one block.
A big part of their success came as a result of Nevada’s aggressive style on offense. Veteran setter Michaela Matuska did an excellent job getting quick sets to Cassabaum and Pringnitz to constantly catch the Trojans off guard.
"The past few weeks of practice we’ve been working on some stuff and we’ve really gotten it down these last few matches," Cassabaum said. "I think one of our best weapons is being fast. We need to keep showing that."
Abby Stephenson added five kills and three blocks, Rhodes had four kills and one block and Emma Lodestein finished with two kills and four blocks. Matuska handed out 20 assists and she also came up with five digs, two blocks and one kill.
Stephenson and Jessica Helton led Nevada in digs with six apiece. Pringnitz finished with five and Erin Francis added four.
Helton had three of Nevada’s six aces serving and Stephenson, Francis and Pringnitz each finished with one. Matuska was Nevada’s most consistent server as she went 17 of 18.