In pool play, the Trojans opened with a 25-17, 25-19 win over Solomon, then defeated Canton-Galva in a tight battle, 27-25, 25-23, before knocking off Hesston, 25-12, 25-23.
“With Solomon I was a little disappointed at first, but then when I watched them play Hesston I wasn’t quite as disappointed,” Arnold said. “I thought they were pretty smart and were trying to find our holes and mixing some things up on us. I was impressed with what they were doing—but I didn’t think we were playing our best.”
Hillsboro’s match against Canton-Galva was particularly important to Arnold, who coached the Eagles prior to coming to Hillsboro four years ago.
“I pretty mutch sat back and watched because I knew it was going to be an emotional game for me,” she said. “I told the girls I don’t really care how we do it, I’d just like to win. If it takes three (games), that’s OK.
“I thought Canton-Galva played a good match against us,” she added. “We did a nice job coming back from the deficit we were in (during Game 1), and I think that kind of frustrated (the Eagles) a little bit. But they came back in the second game and made it tough for us—and that was good.”
Arnold said she was concerned about the amount of energy her team had invested to beat Canton-Galva—and then turn right around and play Hesston, who had beaten her team in two previous meetings this season.
“I don’t know if Hesston thought we didn’t look very good that morning, but we seemed to come out ready to play,” Arnold said. “I know the girls wanted to play Hesston. They were pretty excited about that.
“Our game plan seemed to work and the girls bought into it. When Hesston got frustrated, it made it even better.”
Advancing to bracket play, Hillsboro dropped a 25-19, 25-13 semifinals match to Little River, who came in at 17-5.
“I knew it would be a tough match for us, but I wanted to win another tough match,” Arnold said. “I thought we needed that right now. I don’t know if the two-match delay hurt us, but we were real sluggish.
“I didn’t think we appeared to be the team that played earlier,” she added. “We didn’t pass the ball as well as we have the rest of the season. That seemed to hurt as far as getting things set up the rest of that match.”
Hillsboro was down by nine in Game 2 before rallying to tie the score at 22.
“Not playing our best and still being in the game makes you wish you could play them again because maybe we’d get them the next time,” Arnold said. The loss set up a rematch with Hesston for third place—something Arnold had hoped to avoid.
“It’s hard to beat a team twice in one day, especially a team the quality of Hesston,” she said. “We put our game faces back on and went back to the same game plan. It was little more nip and tuck for a while, but I still felt like we started to pull away about mid game.”
The Trojans won in the minimum two games, 25-17, 25-18.
“It was a good day,” Arnold said. “I was pleased with the record we came home with. If we could have beaten Little River, that would have made me feel a little better, but you have to learn from it and move on.”
Perennial power Moundridge (19-2) won the tournament with a 25-12, 25-9 win over Little River.
Hillsboro’s Dakota Kaufman, Amy Neufeld and Chelsea Bebermeyer were named to the all-tournament team.
Haven—The Trojans lost their showdown with Hoisington on Tuesday, Sept. 15, but came back to defeat a competitive host team in a triangular of league matches.
Hoisington, who came into the evening with a 20-1 record overall and 2-0 in league play, did not seem phased by a hard-fought victory over Haven in the opening match of the evening. The Cardinals swept the Trojans in two games, 25-20, 25-17.
Hillsboro led 3-2 in Game 1, but the Cardinals regained the lead until a block-point by Corissa Bartel, followed by a 4-0 serving run by Dakota Kaufman, put the Trojans ahead, 19-16.
But with Hillsboro leading 20-19, Hoisington scored the next points to win the game.
In Game 2, Hillsboro jumped to a 3-0 led and still led at 14-13. But the Cardinals gained the upper hand with a 12-3 run the rest of the way.
The loss pitted the Trojans against a rested Haven team, but Hillsboro handled the Wildcats in straight games, 25-19, 25-14.
Game 1 was tight from the start. But with HHS trailing 17-18, the Trojans tied the score on defense, then Amy Neufeld served for six straight points to take them to the brink of victory. In Game 2, Hillsboro took the lead for good at 5-4 and slowly pulled away to its 11-point final margin.
Coming—Hillsboro was scheduled to play league matches against Halstead and Marion at a quadrangular at Halstead on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Collegiate also was on the dance card there.
The Trojans will play host to a quadrangular next Tuesday with Hesston, Collegiate and Smoky Valley participating. Hillsboro will play league matches against Hesston and Smoky Valley.