PODCAST: Eric Allgood, Tony Chapman and Berk Brown with Nebraska Prep Volleyball break down all the brackets and give you our picks for the championships!

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Class A — Millard West Wildcats (22-12) — Six-seed
First round opponent: Papillion-LaVista (33-7)
Qualification: Wild Card
Times at State: 7 (most recent 2014)
Best Finish: runner-up (2013)

Outlook: The Wildcats are at state for the fifth straight season, this time advancing with the wild card in Class A after losing in the district final to Millard North. Senior Cassidy Loberg leads the Cats with 254 kills with sophomore Ashley Bush adding 204. They lead five attackers who have over 100 kills for the season from junior setter Emma Walker (736 assists).

Class B — Grand Island Northwest (32-2) — Two-seed
First round opponent: Omaha Gross Catholic (26-12)
Qualification: Sub-State Champion
Times at State: 24 (most recent 2014; 15th consecutive trip)
Best Finish: champion (1994, 2003, 2012)

Outlook: In the sub-state match against Columbus, coach Dianne Rouzee notched her 700th career win as the Vikings advanced to state for the 15th straight season. Four key seniors — Kayla Bachle, Allie Carlini, Bailey Parr and Taylor Hovie — lead NW, but junior Kylie Broich has been a do-everything player. She leads the team with 209 kills and has 365 set assists in the Vikings 6-2 offense. Parr has 373 set assists and junior Kelsey Placke is second on the team with 192 kills.

Class C1 — Chadron (32-4) — Two-seed
First round opponent: Wahoo Bishop Neumann (20-9)
Qualification: District Champion
Times at State: 7 (most recent 2014)
Best Finish: semifinals (1996)

Outlook: The Cardinals have advanced to the state tournament in each of the past three seasons, but have yet to win one of those matches. A win against Bishop Neumann would be the second in school history and first since 1996. In winning their district, they Cardinals topped Gothenburg to advance. Chadron is one of a few teams that feature two players with over 300 kills in junior Jadyn McCartney leads with team with 456, while senior Chandler Hageman has 318.

Class C2 — Freeman (30-1) — Two-seed
First round opponent: Shelby-Rising City (21-9)
Qualification: District Champion
Times at State: 13 (most recent 2014)
Best Finish: champion (1999 – D1, 2006 – D1, 2014 – C2)

Outlook: Coach Dani White’s defending champions have not missed a beat despite losing three all-state players including Emily Remmers who is at Ohio University. The Falcons, who are 90-7 over the past three seasons, are led by senior Emily Lenners with 281 kills and freshman Kayla Haynes at 260. Senior setter Katie Unvert has 788 assists as Freeman looks to advance to their third straight final.

Class C2 — Sutton (29-3) — Four-seed
First round opponent: Hastings St. Cecilia (22-11)
Qualification: Wild Card
Times at State: 5 (most recent 2014)
Best Finish: third-place (2008-2009)

Outlook: The Fillies make their fifth appearance and second consecutive under coach Adam Kunz. Last year, Sutton lost in the first round to Freeman and this year will play Hastings St. Cecilia in round one. It will be their fourth match of the season with the Hawkettes owing a 2-1 season advantage, having won the district final last week. Seniors Sydney and McKenna Griess have combined for 562 kills on the season.

Class C2 — Shelby-Rising City (21-9) — Seven-seed
First round opponent: Freeman (30-1)
Qualification: District Champion
Times at State: 2 (most recent 2010)
Best Finish: quarterfinals (2010)

Outlook: The Huskies upset their way to Lincoln by beating third seed, and wild card entry, Stanton in the district final. Their reward is a first round match with defending champion Freeman. Seniors Macy Stewart and Emma Noyd have 282 and 243 kills respectively for SRC, while junior setter Delaney Belt has 621 set assists.

Class D1 — Howells-Dodge (23-9) — Four-seed
First round opponent: Johnson-Brock (22-9)
Qualification: District Champion
Times at State: 3 (most recent 2013)
Best Finish: fourth place (2013)

Outlook: Fourth-seeded Howells-Dodge returns to state for the third time as a consolidated school, after a year off and a fourth-place finish in 2013. The Jaguars have lost to just one D1 team this year, and avenged that loss to Cedar Bluffs in the district final. Junior Kallie Brester leads HD with 305 kills with the duo of Tessa Brester and Shelby Hegemann combining for 715 assists.

Class D1 — Johnson-Brock (22-9) — Fifth-seed
First round opponent: Howells-Dodge (23-9)
Qualification: Wild Card
Times at State: 6 (most recent 2008)
Best Finish: fourth place (2008)

Outlook: Johnson-Brock makes their sixth state tournament appearance and first since 2008 via the wild card after they lost to Diller-Odell in the sub-district final. The Eagles balanced attack features three players with over 200 kills. Freshman Fallon Stutheit leads the way with 280 kills, senior Emerson Carbajal has 256 and Kaitlynn Simon has 225. Setter Brynn Westerburg has 880 set assists for the Eagles.

Class D1 — Dundy County-Stratton (20-13) — Eighth-seed
First round opponent: Emerson-Hubbard (30-2)
Qualification: District Champion
Times at State: 1
Best Finish: n/a

Outlook: The Tiger volleyball team completed a perfect fall in Benkleman as every fall sports team (football, boys and girls cross country and girls golf) qualified for their respective postseason tournament. Sisters Aubrey and Grace Frederick lead DCS with 379 and 244 kills each. Do-everything senior Kaylee Burke has 168 assists, 157 kills and 227 digs while junior setter Emily Jones has 531 set assists.

Class D2 — Exeter-Milligan Timberwolves (24-4) — Two-seed
First round opponent: Humphrey St. Francis (19-12)
Qualification: Wild Card
Times at State: 9 (most recent 2014)
Best Finish: champion (2009, 2010, 2012 – all D1)

Outlook: After finishing fourth last year, the Timberwolves return as a wild card after losing to Hampton in the sub-district final. Playing the competitive Crossroads Conference, E-M won the league tournament and brings one of the top players in the class in Marissa Howard. Howard led the team with 261 kills and 54 blocks. Junior Hailey Luzum adds 168 kills and setter Sydney Hall has 672 assists.

Class D2 — Hampton Hawks (27-5) — Five-seed
First round opponent: Stuart (25-4)
Qualification: District Champion
Times at State: 16 (most recent 2011)
Best Finish: champion (1979 – D; 2000, 2001 – D2)

Outlook: Hampton enters state having beat three teams in the top-10 of the qualifying points standings in their past three contests in Meridian, Exeter-Milligan and Falls City Sacred Heart to advance. It doesn’t get easier in the first round as they draw 25-4 Stuart, who has advanced to the finals each of the past two seasons. Junior Madison VanHousen lead the Hawks with 339 kills and adds 52 blocks. Hampton leads the D2 field with 285 ace serves as a team.

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