International Volleyball

Hilley, Supernovas sweep Rise to win inaugural Pro Volleyball Federation title

Hilley, Supernovas sweep Rise to win inaugural Pro Volleyball Federation title

Brooke Nuneviller leads the Omaha celebration/Bonnie Ryan for Omaha Supernovas, Pro Volleyball Federation

OMAHA, Nebraska — Sydney Hilley began the Pro Volleyball Federation playoffs on the bench.

By Saturday afternoon, the Omaha setter was celebrating a championship and was named the most valuable player for helping the Supernovas sweep Grand Rapids in a 25-13, 26-24, 25-22 victory at the CHI Health Center.

Throughout the season, Hilley rotated at setter with Natalia Valentin-Anderson. She appeared in 68 sets compared to Valentin-Anderson’s 57. Before the semifinal, Hilley had not played in the previous three matches, all Omaha victories.

Hilley said the playing arrangement was challenging because she didn’t know how much she would play from match to match. However, the love and care she shared with Valentin-Anderson made the uncertainty easier.

“Obviously, I don’t want to be on the bench — no one on the bench wants to be on the bench — but I just wanted the best for her and to prep for anything that could happen,” Hilley said. “I had my mind right to come in. My team had so much trust in me and allowed me to play freely. I’m so proud of the way that we came back on Wednesday and then started this game and finished with a bang. It was awesome.”

Sydney Hilley sets for the Supernovas/Bonnie Ryan for Omaha Supernovas, Pro Volleyball Federation

In the semifinals, Hilley entered the match with Omaha trailing 6-0 in the second set after it had dropped the opener. The Supernovas couldn’t overcome the early deficit, but with Hilley at the controls of the offense, Omaha (19-7) pulled off a reverse sweep to earn a spot in the championship.

The former Wisconsin Badger continued her hot streak in the final as Omaha hit .615 in the first set and .342 for the match. Hilley finished with 40 assists and a block after recording 46 assists and 19 digs in the semifinal.

After Hilley delivered the win on Wednesday, Omaha coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn followed the same decision process she had used all year and rode the hot hand at setter.

“There’s a rhythm piece, and she ran a great match on Wednesday night, obviously,” Kuhn said. “So you keep going with that, especially the way we were playing. We were just off a day or two the last two weeks. And so if we went with a switch, we stuck with it. It’s seamless. They are two very different players, but it is a seamless transition, and when they have rhythm, we go with it.”

The first set was a clinic…

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