ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JENNIFER PROFFITT
The Hillsboro High School volleyball team fell one match short of a championship at the Centre Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
The Trojans sailed through pool play without losing a game, then beat Marion in the semifinals before losing to top-seeded Hope, 13-14, 2-15 in the finals.
The Trojans made quick work of Berean Academy in their first round of pool play, 15-7, 15-7.
After a slow start in the second round, Hillsboro beat error-plagued Herington, 15-11, 15-13.
The third match brought the Trojans up against second-seeded Centre. The Trojans picked their play up a notch, and defeated the Cougars in two games, 15-12, 17-15.
“The teams we were playing did not hit the ball as hard as what we’re used to, so it was hard to get our intensity up, but we won them all in two (games) so I was proud of the girls,” Burton. said
Hillsboro maintained their intensity against Marion in the semifinals, dispatching the Warriors in two games, 15-12, 15-9.
“Marion was a tough team,” Burton said. “We came out excited to play them, and we played hard. It was probably our best match that day.”
The first game against Hope was intense with Hillsboro getting down early. The Trojans battled back to 13-14 before a mis-hit cost them the game, 13-15.
“We missed six serves in the first game,” Burton said. “If that would not have happened, we probably would have won that game.”
In the second game, Hope made few errors, and Hillsboro showed signs of fatigue, falling to 1-12 before taking their second time out of the game. But the Trojans could not turn the tide and lost, 2-15.
“I felt we should have won that tournament,” Burton said. “I would love to play Hope again. I’m sure we could give them another run, and come out as the winner next time.”
Sterling-HHS relished a bit of revenge for two losses to Sterling last season by sweeping two matches from the Black Bears Sept. 5.
The Trojans dominated the first match, dispatching Sterling in two games, 15-8 and 15-11.
Senior Julie Hett said, “We knew they were good, but we knew we were good enough to beat them.”
The Trojans struggled a bit in the second match before winning, 15-7, 8-15 and 15-7.
Senior Angela Herzet, said the Trojans weren’t as focused in the second match.
“I think the first game was a lot more of a mental game, and by the second game, there wasn’t as much pressure, so our mentality dropped.”
Trojan coach Collette Burton was pleased with the play of her front row.
“We got rid of their hitting offense because our blockers were doing an awesome job,” she said. “Our outside hitters, Hett and Herzet, were putting the ball away on the outside, and that really got everybody going.
“In the middle, junior Jill Hein had some tremendous blocks. They were a really a big part of taking Sterling out of their offense.”
“Junior Robyn Penner has been serving awesome,” Burton added, “and we’ve got to have that.”
The Trojans (8-1) were scheduled to play Halstead yesterday. They will take on Smoky Valley next Tuesday in Lindsborg. Games begin at 5 p.m.