Published Saturday, November 10, 2012 AT 1:12 AM / Updated at 1:12 AM
Saturday’s Nebraska volleyball finals
Mike Patterson Omaha World-Herald

Omaha Marian (38-4) vs. Papillion-La Vista South (40-1), 1 p.m.
The lowdown: The final that most expected between the teams ranked Nos. 1 and 2 all season. The Titans have won all four previous matches, though the Crusaders were able to take a set in a late-season match at Papio South. Both teams swept their earlier matches at state, though the Titans seemed a little sluggish in their semifinal win over Millard West.
The pick: The Crusaders are very good, but it’s hard to imagine the Titans coming up short. They’ll pull down their third straight crown.

Grand Island Northwest (34-2) vs. Gretna (26-8), 4:30 p.m.
The lowdown: Northwest is the feel-good story of the tournament, seeking a state title after finishing as the runner-up the past five years. The Vikings suffered both of their losses early in the season but have since rolled off 27 straight wins. Gretna enters the final as the newcomer, having won its first-ever state tourney match Thursday.
The pick: Slight edge to the Vikings, though they’ll have to bring their “A” game to defeat the surging Dragons.

Columbus Scotus (25-3) vs. Kearney Catholic (35-0), 8:30 p.m.
The lowdown: This match should be a dandy between the school that has been to the state final more than anyone else (Scotus) and the Stars, the lone undefeated team in the state that has finished as the runner-up the past two years. Kearney Catholic has lost just three sets all season.
The pick: You could make a pretty good living picking Scotus in this spot, but the Stars have the ability to take home their first title. Kearney Catholic gets it done.

Norfolk Lutheran (30-5) vs. Hartington CC (30-5), 11 a.m.
The lowdown: Both teams advanced to the final by knocking off higher seeds. Norfolk Lutheran won both earlier matches between the teams, but that doesn’t mean much at state. The Eagles have won eight straight since a late-season loss against Class B Blair while Cedar Catholic is riding a 14-match win streak into the final.
The pick: The Eagles are the two-time defending champions, but we’ll play a hunch and take the experienced Trojans.

Exeter-Milligan (29-4) vs. West Point GACC (30-4), 6:30 p.m.
The lowdown: The sixth-seeded Timberwolves served notice in the first round that they meant business, outlasting powerful Howells-Dodge in a five-set marathon. Exeter-Milligan followed with a four-set win over second seed Sutherland, earning its fourth straight berth in the final.
The pick: The Bluejays haven’t expended as much energy and should have plenty in the tank for the final. We’ll take GACC to capture its first championship since 2004.

Cedar Valley (26-6) vs. Humphrey (32-2), 9 a.m.
The lowdown: The match will include two of the most dynamic players in D-2, Cedar Valley’s Skyler Erickson (499 kills) and Humphrey’s Alyssa Frauendorfer (421 kills). The teams met earlier this season, with the Mavericks winning the best-of-three match 2-1.
The pick: Experience matters here. Defending D-1 champion Humphrey has that advantage, so we’ll give the Bulldogs a slight edge.

About Mike Patterson

Mike Patterson is a staff writer for The Omaha World-Herald and covers Nebraska high school sports. You can follow Mike on Twitter (@mpattersonOWH) or email him at