Fairbury takes down Syracuse on the road, advances to district final
SYRACUSE, Neb. - The top two seeds met in the C1-1 subdistrict final Tuesday night in Syracuse as an energetic crowd packed the stands to see which team would be moving on to the district final for a chance at a state tournament berth.
In a crowd that was split almost in half on each side of the gym, it was the visiting fans from Fairbury going home happy as the Jeffs pulled out a four-set win over Syracuse in a battle of teams on five match winning streaks.
Trailing 2-0 in the match, the Rockets needed a win in the third set to stay alive and it appeared they were well on their way to doing so, turning a 6-3 deficit into a 15-7 lead halfway through the set. Senior Katelyn Smith completely took over the match with a number of blocks at the net along with a couple of kills.
Just like that, Syracuse pushed its lead to 20-12.
But then momentum began to swing back to the Jeffs side of the net after five straight points prompted a Rockets timeout. After the timeout, the Fairbury run continued and after a Hannah Robertson kill, the Jeffs were up 24-23 serving for match point.
The Rockets then responded tied at 24 with an ace serve from Bridget Donovon and a kill by Smith, holding on for the win 26-24.
The Syracuse crowd rose to its feet for the start of the fourth set, but it was Fairbury getting out to a 7-3 lead to force another Syracuse timeout. After exchanging kills, blocks and errors, the set was tied at 20. All four sets at one point were tied at 20 a piece.
An attacking error and back-to-back kills from Allison Davis and Emily Huss put the Jeffs up 24-21, serving for match point. This time it was the Jeffs fans rising to their feet with a slow clap. Fairbury went to its best player in crunch time in Huss and she delivered the match ending kill to give it the subdistrict title.
It's the first time since 2016 that Syracuse didn't advance to the district championship as its season comes to an end at 20-11.
Fairbury moved its winning streak to six matches and will play in the district final. The opponent, date and time is still to be determined by the NSAA.
For all district volleyball pairings, you can visit the NSAA's website at Volleyball – Nebraska School Activities Association (nsaahome.org).
Fairbury (20-11): 25, 25, 24, 25 - 3
Syracuse (20-11): 23, 23, 26, 21 - 1