The Sutherland Sailors volleyball team showed why it is one of the top teams in the state Saturday, decisively winning three matches over highly rated opponents and taking the Cozad Invitational title.
Sutherland, a Class D-1 team, defeated Valentine in the opening match, 25-18, 25-22. Valentine, a Class C-1 team, entered the tournament with a 16-8 record.
In the Sailorís second match against Gothenburg (19-3 in C-1), the Sailors took the first set of the match, 25-21. The Swedes came back to win the second, 25-22, but the Sailors took the third, 25-20.
In the final match, Sutherland put away Alma (16-7 in Class D-1) in two straight, 25-21, 25-21.
Sutherland finished the day with a 19-6 record.
Going into the tournament, Sutherland was rated No. 3 in Class D-1 by the Nebraska School Activities Association ratings.
Four of Sutherlandís losses have been to North Platte St. Patrickís, 22-1 and rated No. 2 in Class C-2.
Sutherland dealt St. Patís their only loss of the season, claiming a five-set marathon win in the championship of the South Platte Valley Association tournament.
For the Sailors, Samantha Kennedy had 35 kills for the day; Jalyne Schuster had 41 digs and Joli Hopping had 58 assists.