ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro High School volleyball team started slowly, but found their stride en route to a two-match sweep of Council Grove to open the season Aug. 29.
The Trojans lost the first game of the opening match, 12-15, but took the next two, 15-9 and 15-11, for the win. Hillsboro won the second match in straight games, 15-12 and 15-3.
“We had a little trouble getting started in our first game of the first match,” said Collette Burton, head coach. “But we came from behind in the second game and decided we wanted to play.”
In addition to lacking focus in the early going, the Trojans weren’t quite prepared for the Braves’ back-row attack.
“We hadn’t really seen much of that last year and we weren’t ready for it,” she said. “But we adjusted to it well and it worked out.”
Burton like the way her players kept the advantage once they adjusted.
“I think we were a little jittery at first,” she said. “But whenever they were a little bit down, they stayed down and we really took advantage of that.”
Burton praised her team’s passing, serve receiving and play at the net.
“Our coverage was great,” she said. “Jill Hein and Robyn Penner were doing a great job in the middle, getting a lot of blocks down.”
About the only components of their game that didn’t satisfy the Trojan’s coach were serving and covering free balls.
“We missed a few serves that we shouldn’t have,” she said. “Hopefully in the future, we will get up at least to the 90 percent average.
“Overall, I was fairly pleased,” Burton added. “It was really hot (in the gym), but it didn’t bother the girls. They just kept going hard. I was really proud of them. It was a great way to start the season.”
The Trojans were scheduled to continue their season at home Tuesday against their division rivals, Sterling. Results will be available on the Free Press Web site.
On Saturday, the Trojans travel to Lost Springs to play in the eight-team Centre Invitational.
Hillsboro is seeded third behind Hope and Centre. Burrton, Marion, Berean Academy, Herington and the Salina Central junior varsity round out the field in descending seeds.
Hillsboro will open play in Pool B against Berean at 10 a.m. They are scheduled to play again at noon against Herington, and then at 1 p.m. against Centre.
Centre squares off against Herington at 9 a.m., then plays Berean at 11 a.m. and Hillsboro at 1 p.m.
Marion, playing in Pool A, opens at 10 a.m. against Burrton. They follow with matches against top-seeded Hope at 11 a.m. and Salina Central at 2 p.m.
The top two seeds from each pool will advance to the semifinal round.
At 3 p.m., the winner of Pool A will play the runnerup of Pool B, and the winner of Pool B will play the runnerup of Pool A.
The third-place and championship games will begin at 4 p.m.