Former Diller-Odell Griffin looks to win fourth state title in fourth different class
LINCOLN - The goal for any high school athlete is almost always to etch their name into the history books by winning a state title. But one specific Nebraska high school volleyball player has an opportunity to make history in a unique way.
Elecea Saathoff of the Lincoln Lutheran Warriors used to play for Diller-Odell and she only knows what it’s like to be a champion. Having won three titles, she has an opportunity to four-peat with a title this year. Saathoff explained the road her career has traveled.
“I went to Diller-Odell all up until sophomore year… Junior year, I transferred to Lincoln lutheran.,” Saathoff said. “My mom had been driving back and forth to Lincoln for about 10 years and just needed a change…. I really liked the idea of a Christian based school, plus, I knew Abby Wachal from playing club together so Lincoln Lutheran just seemed like the right fit for me.”
Warriors head coach Sue Ziegler talked about what Elecea has brought to the team.
“Elecea came into our program as versatile player,” Ziegler said. “She’s played some middle, blocking and attacking, as well as some right side… She also came here wanting to do some setting because she’d done some in club. We used her with a little bit in setting last year and this year she’s done a great job.”
Lincoln Lutheran has become a powerhouse in Nebraska high school volleyball having won three state titles in the last four years. Now, they have an opportunity to make even more history as Saathoff can four-peat during her time as a high school player, having won a state title in four different classes. In 2019 and 2020 she won in D-1, then D-2 with the Griffins. Last year, she became a champion with the Warriors in C-1. Now, with Lincoln Lutheran having dropped down to C-2, she has a chance to win there as well, with the Warriors being a perfect 37-0, and the top seed at this weeks state tournament.
“That’s crazy to me,” Saathoff said. “The thought is unreal. It’s not something you really hear of, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my great coaches and teammates.”
Coach Ziegler says one of the main things Saathoff noticed when she shifted from Diller-Odell to Lincoln Lutheran is the step up in competition as a result of a tough conference.
“Going from maybe where she was earlier, D12/D-1, to C-1, was also kind of a neat thing for her, because our Centennial Conference is so tough, we see a lot of those teams at state,” Ziegler said. “The competition level was pretty intense right away she said.”
Having played volleyball in now four different classes, and won in three of them, Saathoff says it’s given her a calmer mindset for high pressure matches, like most at the state tournament.
“You know what you need to bring to the team,” Saathoff said. “I think I have a greater sense of calmness on the court, because it’s just like any other game, by just treating it by one point at a time and take it form there.”
Lincoln Lutheran will look start their journey to another title, and Sathoff will look to make history, beginning with the Warriors’ round one matchup with 8 seed Bayard on Thursday evening.