Experienced Broncos sweep Cross County into state quarterfinals

Cross County Volleyball

Cross County celebrates after winning a point in Thursday’s game against Amherst at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

Sam Ficaro, Columbus Telegram

LINCOLN – Cross County returned to the NSAA State Volleyball Tournament for the first time since 2013 Thursday, taking on the six-ranked Amherst Broncos in the C-2 quarterfinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

The Cougars started the match lively, taking a 11-5 lead in the first set. However, Amherst took the match from that point to get a 25-22, 25-11, 25-23 sweep.

“We can always do better if we don’t lose in three games, but I’m very proud of them,” said Cross County coach Aimee Noid. “All season only… It’s great to be part of a team like this and we’ve been special all season, but we’re also looking forward. It’s going to be a great experience for these returning girls.”

Amherst qualified for her third straight state championship this year, and claimed her first-ever state win on Thursday. Noid said she felt that was the difference in the end in the match.

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“I think it was just Joe. None of these girls on the court played any official PBA (Pinnacle Bank Arena) tournaments,” Noid said. “I think we got into our heads a lot and got nervous at moments that we could have taken advantage of.”

Lily Peterson

Cross County middle hitter Lily Peterson swings the ball on Thursday against Amherst in Lincoln.

Sam Ficaro, Columbus Telegram

Lily Peterson led the Cougars with 11 kills. Shayan Anderson has recorded 10 kills and Breslin Larson has recorded seven. Sydney Hengelett scored 37 assists.

Amherst finished the match with 36 kills, eight aces and three blocks yielding points. Hannah Herrick recorded the highest kill count of 16 and 13 pits for the Broncos.

The Cougars built a lead in the first set 11-5 on two kills from Peterson and Shayan Anderson and kills from Larson and Limburg.

Amherst debuted the match at 13-12 with three aces, one kill and four Cougar fouls. The Broncos advanced 17-15 before Cross County scored four consecutive points in two Peterson kills, one Jayden Fellows and an Amherst violation.

After 20-18, Amherst scored four kills, an ace and a block to lead 24-20. Peterson and Limburg smashed in to cut the difference in half, but Amherst’s ball ended the first set.

Brian Limburg

Senior Cougars Brian Limburg jumps to swing on the ball in Thursday’s game against Amherst at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

Sam Ficaro, Columbus Telegram

It was all about the Broncos in the second set as they made a 15-4 lead. In the second set, they scored dozens of kills and exploited six Cougar offensive errors.

Cross County had a four-point lead in the third set at 16-12, but the Broncos pulled it off at 17-17 due to two serve errors by the Cougars, a foul and an attacking foul. The group is restricted to 18-18, 19-19 and 20-20.

Two Broncos kills and a Cross County violation put Amherst ahead 23-20 in the third set. He reduced the difference to one point on two occasions at 23-22 and 24-23, but he was not able to equalize in the set. The murder at Amherst decided the win.

Taylor Lindbergh

Senior Cougars Taylor Lindbergh jumps to serve the ball in the quarterfinals of the NSAA Class C-2 Volleyball Tournament in Lincoln on Thursday.

Sam Ficaro, Columbus Telegram

Limburg, Taylor Lindberg and his teammates hit the ground running in the final high school volleyball game of their careers. They raised the profile of the program that led the Cougars to 29 wins and the state’s third appearance in the school’s history.

“I just told them they set very high standards for this program and I will be forever grateful to them because they bought and worked with what I want to do with this program,” Noid said. “We really wouldn’t have been able to do what we did this season without them, so we are forever grateful.”

Shayan Anderson

Cross County outside hitter Shayan Anderson lifts the ball in the quarterfinals of the NSAA Class C-2 Volleyball Tournament Thursday against Amherst in Lincoln.

Sam Ficaro, Columbus Telegram

The Cougars bring back the majority of their roster, which includes freshmen Anderson and Peterson, sophomore Larson and freshman Hengelfelt. Returnees will look to build on the foundation laid this year.

“The motto of our season this year has been his sincerity and we just think we can get here and now we’re here, so let’s just chase that feeling and keep building on what we started,” Noid said.

Jayden's colleagues

Cross County’s Jayden Fellowes lifts the ball around Amherst’s blocker, Sareen Beckett on Thursday in Lincoln.

Sam Ficaro, Columbus Telegram

Sam Ficaro is a sports reporter with the Columbus Telegram. You can reach him via email at sports@columbustelegram.com.


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