Ansley, Mullen return to State Tournament

The Ansley Lady Warriors and Mullen Lady Broncos return to the state volleyball tournament after each won district championships last Thursday. The state tournament, which has moved to Grand Island and Hastings in 2010 and 2011, begins tonight with both Ansley and Mullen among the eight teams in the Class D2 tournament field. Ansley’s first match begins at 5:30 p.m. at Grand Island Central Catholic High School. No. 4 seed Ansley will face off against No. 5 seed Hay Springs (25-4) who qualified for the tournament as a wild card after losing to Mullen in the D2-6 district championship game. Hay Springs also lost to Mullen earlier in the season and lost to D2 state qualifier Stuart. Ansley qualified for the tournament as the D2-4 district champion. The Lady Warriors defeated Loomis in three sets 25-11, 25-15 and 25-20 to remain unbeaten on the season at 32-0. Chelsea Entz led Ansley with 22 points, two ace serves, nine kills and three blocks. Katie Drake followed Entz with 19 points and two aces, Taylor Rohde had eight kills, while Siera Rohde and Courtney Marsh combined for 19 set assists. The Mullen Lady Broncos first match will follow the Ansley-Hay Springs game at Grand Island Central Catholic to start at approximately 7:30 p.m. The Lady Broncos drew the No. 8 seed and must square off against No. 1 seed Sterling (30-2). Sterling qualified for the tournament as the D2-1 district champion. Sterling has a 3-0 record against qualifying tournament teams this season with two wins over C2 qualifier Homboldt-Table Rock-Steinauer and a win over D2 qualifier Lawrence-Nelson. Mullen qualified for the tournament as the D2-6 district champion. The Lady Broncos defeated Hay Springs in four sets 25-19, 23-25, 25-21 and 25-16 to improve to 27-4. Madison Tomlinson had a career high 43 set assists and served a perfect 22 of 22 with two aces and tallied 13 digs to lead the Lady Broncos. Tricia Young also scored 12 points and slammed 28 kills with 17 digs followed by Mardee Sierks who had 20 kills and 14 digs for Mullen. Robin Rundback also reached double digits with 11 points and 13 digs for the Lady Broncos. With first round wins, Ansley and Mullen would meet in the D2 semifinals, meeting for the third time this season. Ansley holds a 2-0 advantage over Mullen winning both meetings during the season. GOOD LUCK TO BOTH AREA TEAMS!!!