Cats take Districts

Millard West heads to State


Photo by Kaitlyn Dickmeyer

Millard West takes a picture with their District Championship Plaque after beating Marian three sets to one. “It felt good and it was an accomplishment to make it to State all four years that I was here,” senior Bridger Smith said.

Sean Beatty, Staff Reporter

The Wildcat volleyball team has been nothing but great this year, finishing the year with a record of 22-8 and ranked sixth heading to State.

After a great regular season the Wildcats were ready for their postseason to start needing to win Districts to go to State.

“The 2020 season has been unlike anything we’ve ever seen before” head volleyball coach Joe Wessel said. “The commitment our athletes have made to stay healthy and follow regulations is a testament to how engaged, disciplined and hungry this team is”.

The Cats took on Grand Island in their first District matchup winning in three quick sets to win their first match in Districts. And won their second game against Marian in four sets after a controversial tip call in the third set that helped Marian win the third set.

“We are extremely pumped after our District championship,” Wessel said. “Marian is a dynasty in Class A volleyball and to knock them off to earn our trip to state was very memorable.”

With COVID, they knew that this season would be different than past years while having to wear a mask during games, using hand sanitizer during timeouts and making sure they are properly spaced out during timeouts so they are able to drink water.

“It hasn’t been much different on the court besides just having to wear a mask,” senior Elise Gilroy said. “We just have to make sure we are spread out during timeouts and use hand sanitizer at every timeout”.

Despite losing eight games this year, the Wildcats have only lost to four different teams. They’ve lost to Elkhorn South three times this year and lost to both Papio La-vista South and Lincoln Southwest twice. They also won and lost a match against Bellevue West.

Elkhorn South, Papio-Lavista South and Lincoln Southwest are all ranked in the top six in the state. If they want to make a run in state, they know that they need to win these big games.

Players on the Wildcats are some of the best players in the state. Junior Maddie Mactaggart is 11th in kills with 284, and junior Sadie Millard is leading state in blocks with 157 along with junior Kylah Brewer right behind her in second with 108 blocks.

While having some players dominant, they have worked fantastic together as a team. It isn’t just one player doing all the work. The Cats have four players that have over 175 kills, and almost every player is contributing something to the team.

The Cats go into State as the six seed in the Class A bracket taking on Pius X on Wednesday November 4th. They hope to make a longer run in state compared to last year’s season where they were eliminated in the first round. This will be a tough game for Millard West, although they haven’t taken on Pius this year. Pius has only lost four games all year and enters state as the three seed.

“We understand that when getting to state, it starts over 0-0,” Wessel said. We have one focus: Lincoln Pius X,” said Wessel. “Point by point, one match at a time”.

For seniors Elise Gilroy, Bridget Smith and Jill Webber, these games will be the last games they ever play for Millard West Volleyball.

“I just want to win,” senior Bridget Smith said. “And play our hardest since this will be my last time out there for Millard West.”

The Wildcats hope to make a far run in state this year as the six seed and will try to win their first ever state championship.