Westside Volleyball Wins District Tournament for First Time Since 1994


Mary Nilius

Westside volleyball holding the A-7 District Plaque after their win against Fremont. The Warriors are headed to the state tournament for the first time since 2002 – Photo by Mary Nilius

For the first time since 2002, the Westside varsity volleyball team is headed to the state tournament. The Warriors punched their ticket to Lincoln after taking home the A-7 District Tournament title, their first district title since 1994.

After a runner-up finish at the Metro Conference Tournament last week, the Warriors readied themselves to face the Omaha Central Eagles in the district semi-finals at home.

“We spent a lot of time just tuning up some things,” junior Destiny Ndam-Simpson said. “Passing and serving is something that we can always do. We worked a lot on overpasses and play’s the net. That’s where we got burned a lot at the Metro tournament, especially against Papio South, so we’re just going to continue to compete.”

The hard work in practice paid off, as the Warriors swept Omaha Central in three straight sets. Central managed to keep the match close for the first two sets, falling 25-16 in both, but towards the end there was nothing they could do to stop the intense offense of the Warriors. In the third set Westside held the Eagles to three points, and head coach Korrine Bowers was able to give some playing time to a few non-starters.

“Especially in the third set we were just really locked in and we wanted to get it done and over with,” junior Jocelyn Healy said. “We were just really clean.”

Westside was just one game away from a district title and a ticket to the state tournament, it’s clear how much the program has grown.

“Going to state would mean so much,” senior Madilyn Siebler said. “My freshman year we just weren’t good. The validation of knowing that this program has come far enough to make state and even more than that, to be an actual contender to win, means so much to me and it’s something I’ve wanted for my whole high school career.”

On Wednesday night, the Warriors prepared to face off against No. 7 Fremont  in a game that could make or break their season. Westside’s momentum from the previous night carried on and they continued their dominance on the court. Both teams got off to a slow start in the first set, but the Warriors managed to dig their way out of it and came out on top. Westside swept the match in straight sets 25-23, 25-21 and 25-10 to earn the No. 6 seed at the state tournament.  

“It’s another emotional night with this group of girls,” Bowers said. “We’re a tight knit team, a family. Those girls go out there every game playing for each other, and that’s why I coach. It’s to see them run out onto the court. That district championship? They earned it. They did it. They believed in each other and I’m glad to be part of that team.”

The Warriors will begin their bid for a state championship on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. They’ll face No. 3 Lincoln Southwest in the quarterfinal match and Madilyn Siebler won’t have a tough time getting motivated for the match.

“We haven’t beat them in all my four years here, and it’s always been close,” Siebler said. “We’ve already played them three times [this season] and we know we can beat them. Doing it at the state tournament would be a perfect way to top it all off. It’ll take grit, which we have, tough defense, which we have, and fearless attacking, which we also have.”

Westside will travel to Pinnacle Bank Arena, where they look to achieve their goal of bringing home the school’s first-ever state volleyball title.