When you come into a mid-season tournament as the No. 1 seed with only one loss and a top ranking in Class 3A, you expect to leave with a title.
Hillsboro did just that Saturday, going 5-0 at the Canton-Galva Invitational. The sweep, plus two league wins earlier in the week, improves the Trojans’ record to 23-1 for the year.
Hillsboro dropped only one game all day, and that was to Hesston in the title match. But the Trojans prevailed in their fourth encounter with the Swathers this season, 25-18, 17-25, 25-19.
Coach Sandy Arnold was pleased with the even-keel play of her team Saturday.
“Everybody knows where you’re at, and they all want to beat you,” Arnold said. “We just have to be steady the whole time.
“I like them to get excited, but not overexcited. If something goes wrong, we’re just going to come right back. I thought they did a good job with that pretty much the whole day. We had moments when we could have fallen apart, and I thought we maintained our composure pretty well.”
Hillsboro got to the finals by defeating Goessel, 25-18, 25-8. Arnold said the Bluebirds were motivated at the start.
“They were getting all fired up and playing really well in that first game because they were staying in it,” she said. “Once we started to pull away, you could kind of see that kind of drop a little bit. When they are on a high, they can play very well.”
In pool play, Hillsboro started the day by defeating Canton-Galva (25-18, 25-8), then beat Sunrise Christian Academy (25-15, 25-11) and Halstead (25-20-25-20)
“Against Canton-Galva, we just had to wake up,” Arnold said. “I didn’t think we played badly once we got going, but this was our first tournament in a while.”
The two-game sweeps of Sunrise and Halstead were fruits of steady play.
“We did a good job at playing at our level,” Arnold said. “That’s good, because it’s not always easy to do that. I don’t think people always understand that because the game is so mental. It’s easy to let down.”
Arnold said the tournament title was one more goal to check off the list.
“We wouldn’t have wanted to get anything less than first,” she said. “But I think they know it’s one more step to where we really want to be.”
Hillsboro—The Trojans improved to 5-0 in Central Kansas League play with wins Sept. 25 over Lyons and Smoky Valley in a home double dual.
Hillsboro dispatched Lyons in the first match, 25-6, 25-17. The Trojans dominated in Game 1 and used Game 2 to give more playing time to the bench.
Addie Lackey led the team with eight kills in 12 attempts during the match, and added three aces while serving. Tena Loewen added seven kills and served five aces in only nine attempts.
The Trojans started slowly against Smoky Valley in the nightcap before claiming the win in three games, 23-25, 25-17, 25-14.
Loewen recorded 19 kills in 26 attempts to pace the Trojan attack. Lackey and Alex Ratzlaff each added seven. Ratzlaff served five aces in 13 chances.
For the evening, the Trojans served 28 aces.
Coming—The Trojans were scheduled to play league matches at Sterling Tuesday against the host team as well as a fifth matchup with Hesston.
Hillsboro travels to Great Bend Thursday to take on a couple of 5A schools, the hometown Panthers (6-6) and Newton (11-3).
“Great Bend is playing well right now and are much improved from the past couple of years,” coach Sandy Arnold said. “Newton is always a force in 5A.”