Papio South honored as FAB 50 champs

The Papillion-La Vista South volleyball team celebrates its second consecutive POWERADE FAB 50 national championship. Kirstin Olsen/ESPNHS

By Kirstin Olsen

MORE: Photo gallery of trophy presentation

PAPILLION, Neb. -- In front of a roaring crowd of 1,500 students and faculty, the Papillion-La Vista South girls' volleyball team was awarded the POWERADE FAB 50 National Championship trophy at an all-sports pep rally in Titan Arena on Tuesday.

The Titans, who have won back-to-back national championships and back-to-back state titles, proudly hung their second banner from ESPNHS and POWERADE along with their state championship banners in the Titan Arena rafters. They finished their season with a perfect 41-0 record and have won 82 consecutive matches. They went wire-to-wire atop the FAB 50 rankings.

“Of course it feels great, like winning anything would," junior Amber Rolfzen said. "But it's just nice to look up in the banners at school and see not one, but two, national championships twice in a row.”

Former Cornhusker outside hitter Dani Mancuso, who won a national championship with Nebraska in 2006, was present to speak to the student body and help congratulate the team on the prestigious award.

“Eighty-two consecutive wins are a lot," she said. "It is a huge accomplishment what these girls and coaching staff have done this season, and I hope everyone recognizes that.”

Papillion-La Vista superintendent Dr. Rick Black was also present to award the team with its second Super Bowl-like POWERADE FAB 50 trophy.

The road to the celebration wasn't always easy for the Titans. They were challenged but prevailed in tough matches against No. 4 St. James (Lenexa, Kan.), No. 33 Pius X (Lincoln, Neb.), No. 47 Marian (Omaha, Neb.) and then went on to defeat Burke (Omaha, Neb.) in the Class A state final.

Coach Gwen Egbert thanked the students for their participation and encouraged them to continue to support the team.

When asked about the amazing 82-0 streak, Egbert attributed hard work.

“I think it came through becoming a great team, playing for each other, playing for our school, and through hard work and fundamentals and getting better every day,” she said.

She shouldn't forget the talent.

Kadie Rolfzen finished the season with 402 kills and 382 digs, and twin sister Amber had 312 kills and 289 digs.

Kadie, in particular, seemed to have a knack for stepping up in big matches.

“Egbert is always pushing us in practice, so it’s not just me stepping up my game, it’s the person next to me as well,” she said.

Amber, Kadie and junior setter and Kelly Hunter, all Nebraska commits, were flooded by local reporters with questions, which they handled in stride similar to the way they handled their season.

When asked about the possibility of winning a third consecutive state and national championship, the Rolfzens, Hunter and Egbert were all in agreement.

“The plan is to try and get better and probably try and do it again,” Egbert said. “I hope we can. It's pretty fun.”