GRAND ISLAND-The Sutherland volleyball team finished its season on Saturday with third place in Class D1 after beating O'Neill St. Mary's in the consolation match.The Sailors, who end the season with a record of 26-7, beat the Cardinals (31-4) 28-26, 25-22, 21-25, 25-22 to win its second match this year at state.
The third place finish culminates a three-year run where Sutherland has qualified for the state tournament each year.
In 2010, the Lady Sailors lost in the first round to Exeter-Milligan, the same school that beat them in this year's semifinals. Then last year, Sutherland fell to Bruning-Davenport-Shickley in the first round.
This year's performance at state, which saw the Sailors qualify for the final four after sweeping Alma in the first round, is the best since Sutherland's inaugural trip to state in 1973.
That year, the Lady Sailors lost in the Class C finals to Ansley after beating Cedar Rapids and West Point in the previous two matches.
In 1990, Sutherland also won a match at state by beating Mead in the first round. But the Sailors fell to eventual state champion, Hastings St. Cecilia in the semifinals.