GRAND ISLAND-After first round losses in the previous two years at the state tournament, Sutherland finally got over the hump on Thursday by sweeping Alma at Central Catholic High School.
The Lady Sailors swept the Cardinals 25-21, 25-17, 25-17 to win their first match at state since 1990.
Sutherland (25-6), the No. 2 seed in Class D1, will play No. 6 seed Exeter-Milligan in the semifinals on Friday night at Grand Island Senior High School
The match started out pretty evenly for the first 10 points or so. But Sutherland pulled away to a 13-7 lead with Kristen Nelson serving.
Alma (23-9) rallied back to come within 20-19. But a kill by Nelson and an ace served by Joli Hopping found the Sailors up by three again and that was all the cushion they needed to take the early advantage.
Sutherland began the second set with a run of six straight and the Sailors never really looked back.
Sutherland also started well in the third set going up 10-2. The Lady Cardinals rallied to come within 20-17. But the Lady Sailors won the next six to end it early and advance to the semis.