On Wednesday, Nov. 2, the Marian Varsity volleyball team took on Papillion LaVista South in the opening round of the 2022 NSAA state tournament. The Crusaders earned a spot in the tournament, their first appearance in five years, after beating the Gretna Dragons in a nail-biting five-set match in district play on Oct. 26.
Papio South came out strong in the first two sets, gaining early leads in both. But with the energy in the stands from the student section, the audience would not think the Crusaders were the ones trailing.
In the third, and what would be the final set of the match, the team was able to maintain a small lead over the Titans, warranting enthusiastic and proud cheers from the loyal student section. Marian girls were decked out in their three t-shirts, singing “Go Light Your World” as if they were the burning candles themselves.
While Marian did not walk away from Lincoln with the state trophy, they walked away with another coveted prize, the sportsmanship award. Judging for the award happens in the first and second rounds of the tournament. Each school’s student/parent section, team bench and cheerleaders are all judged based off of five categories: the student body has to have a clear theme, chants must be positive, the cheerleaders must engage the crowds, the coaches and players must display good sportsmanship to the opposing team and officials and the student section must have appropriate supervision.
“The sportsmanship award can be more meaningful than the championship because there are so many things you can’t control in sports,” Athletic Director Ms. Rochelle Rohlfs said. “The fans, student body, the team, coaching staff and the cheerleaders all get the chance to represent Marian with high character and school spirit.”
This marks the fourteenth time Marian has won the award: four times for volleyball, eight times for soccer and two times for basketball.
Even though the student section may have lost the “we got spirit” battle against the Titans and the volleyball team didn’t end the tournament with the result they wanted, the Crusaders still walked away with the idea that they poured their hearts into the cheers and gave the team the motivation they needed to continue fighting throughout the heated match.