The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Will Korn 

Leyton, Potter-Dix to play in district finals, aim for state


Donna Wiedeburg / For The Sun-Telegraph

Members of Potter-Dix' volleyball team huddle in celebration after earning a point in Tuesday night's subdistrict win over Creek Valley.

The Leyton High volleyball team (24-8) is all set for a rematch with rival Crawford (21-5) tonight at home in the Class D2 district final round. First serve is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The winner will punch a ticket to the Class D-2 state tournament in Lincoln next week.

This match will be a battle of two heavyweights who have seen each other before. On its home court, Craword dropped the Warriors back on October 23 in five thrilling sets. This time, Leyton gets the home court advantage, but that doesn't mean it'll be easing up at all.

Leyton head coach Jodi Craig knows Crawford is a very tough team to play, regardless of what court they play on.

"They (Crawford) are very scrappy, make a lot of plays out of their system and get the volleyball back to their opponent's side of the net for them to make the mistake," Craig said. "They have a setter that does a great job of getting the ball back to her hitters in a manner in which they can attack it. It makes staying on offense rather than defense that much more important."

Facing a stingy squad with an opportunity to advance to the state tournament, Craig says some nerves might set in early, but that her team also can't become complacent just because they've been here before.

"I'm sure nerves will be running wild, but I hope to help them channel those nerves in a positive direction," Craig said. "These girls (the Leyton players) need to play with confidence throughout the match. We will have to have an 'every play count' mentality."

The Warriors are a very balanced squad that is fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball. They are led by the fantastic senior duo of right side Kaitlyn Berner and Shaela Jenkins, who have combined for 351 kills and 613 digs this season. Together the two have a kill percentage of 33.9 on 1,035 kill attempts.

On Crawford's side, the player to keep an eye on is junior Kaitlin Rudloff, who has 296 kills and a lethal 43.5 kill percentage. She is a threat every time she gets set up and she's no slouch defensively either, as she's dug out 190 balls in 2014.

Craig has a clear idea of what her team needs to do well in order to have success against Crawford.

"The girls have been serving more aggressively the past few games and have been making a concerted effort to attack the ball any chance they get," Craig said. "If we are able to do this, we will be successful."

Meanwhile, the Potter-Dix Coyotes (17-12) will be on the road to face the Brady Eagles (20-8) in their district final match, with the victor heading to the state tournament. The match is set for 5:30 p.m.

In the D1-12 subdistrict final match, Potter-Dix defeated rival Creek Valley in four sets to advance to the district final match. Brady took down Maxwell in five sets to earn their spot in Thursday's clash.

Potter-Dix head coach Sarah Dvorak did not respond to an email inquiring about the Coyotes' match with Brady.


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