Wolves Prove in Year Two

The Elkhorn North volleyball team had an excellent second season which capped off with a state semifinal appearance.


Photo by Tara Binte Sharil

The Wolves celebrate after scoring a point against Norris in the state semifinal matchup

Following its inaugural season full of baby steps, the Elkhorn North volleyball team kicked the program into high gear this season, establishing itself as one of the best teams in Class B. 

The Wolves, full of young talent and still without any seniors, finished with an overall record of 22-12 and several wins against solid Class B and Class A opponents including Millard North, Millard South, Millard West, and, at the time, the unanimous number one ranked team in Class B: Norris. They defeated rival Elkhorn High in five of six matches against many of their old teammates.

The Wolves hit their point of culmination with a B-5 district championship sweep over the number twelve seed Lexington and headed to Pinnacle Bank Arena sitting as the fifth seed within the final eight. 

Elkhorn North faced off against number four York in the quarter finals and won in defining fashion, sweeping the Dukes 3-0 with set scores of 25-16, 26-24, and 25-12. 

This set up the Wolves to take on the number one seed Norris in a game in which anticipation ran high for both sides. 

The two teams had faced off twice in the season, splitting the series 1-1 with Elkhorn North taking a victory in a tournament and Norris taking the regular season win. The Wolves had to compete against the height of Norris’s Ella Waters among others. They faced up against a team that had only lost twice during the season: once to undefeated and nationally ranked Class A Papillion-LaVista South and once to Elkhorn North itself. It was going to be a tough game. Everyone knew it.

However, the Wolves battled. They fought hard and took Norris into the fifth set, losing a heartbreaker 15-12. This was after Elkhorn North took a 2-1 match lead over the Titans. The set scores were 25-12 in Norris’s favor, 25-21 and 25-18 in Elkhorn North’s favor, and then 25-16 and 15-12 in Norris’s favor. The Titans advanced to the state championship where they ended up losing to number two Skutt, 3-1. Purdue commit Grace Heaney, her freshman sister Shay Heaney, and Reese Booth, just to name a few, had big performances throughout the entire season. 

The Wolves were close. Really close. That’s where the program is sitting right now as it returns everyone next year, still having no senior class graduating after this season. They definitely have a shot to do something special next season, as this season was a huge building block in the early years of the program. 

Junior Grace Heaney was both a team leader and secured several key kills over the course of the season as one of Elkhorn North’s most explosive offensive players.

Grace Heaney hits the ball over Norris’s front row (Photo by Tara Binte Sharil)

“Our team really improved from last year because we all got another year to work with each other and build those connections so that we could trust each other on the court,” Heaney said. “We got mentally stronger so we could push through those harder wins.”

Despite being a first year school with a team consisting of only freshmen and sophomores, Elkhorn North was competitive last year, posting a record of 13-18 with some solid wins down the stretch.

However, the Wolves elevated the program to the next level in year two and are establishing a winning culture early on.

With everyone coming back next year for a third year in a row, Elkhorn North has a very realistic chance to run the tables in season three of the program.

“It’s really exciting to see where we will go next season,” Heaney said. “We’ve got a lot of unfinished business.”