ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro volleyball team won only one of five matches at the Centre Invitational Tournament Saturday, but still managed to finish fourth in the eight-team field.
The Trojans started well with a dominant win over Burrton, 15-5, 15-3, in the first round of pool play.
Hillsboro was leading Centre 11-4 in the rubber game of their match before the Cougars came back to win the game and the match, 15-11. Centre had won the first game 15-12, but HHS had taken the second by an identical score.
The Trojans’ final pool-play match against Herington followed a similar theme. The Railers won the first game, 15-8. Hillsboro came back in the second, 15-11, but then dropped the third and deciding game, 11-15.
Even though Centre, Burrton and Hillsboro each were 1-2 in pool play, the Trojans advanced with Herington into the semifinals because they had scored the most points of the three teams.
There, Hillsboro lost to Marion, the eventual champion, 15-9, 15-4, then lost to Council Grove in the battle for third place, 10-15, 4-15.
Coach Collette Burton said making into the semifinals took her team by surprise, and that affected their play.
“After our third match, when we thought we were done and then realized we were still in the tournament, I think the girls’ volleyball mindset was gone,” coach Collette Burton said. “They had trouble coming back.”
Burton said her team continues to struggle to find consistency on the court.
“We had our times when we were playing really well, and I really saw some chemistry on the floor,” she said. “But we were too up-and-down throughout the tournament. We’d lose our momentum and then we’d be down and had trouble getting ourselves back.
“We’re still very inconsistent on our team chemistry and blocking,” she added. “We’re really trying to focus on blocking right now.”
HHS sophomore Charity Davis was named to the all-tournament team.
“Charity did a great job all the way around during the tournament,” Burton said. “She made a few mistakes, but you’re going to make some every once in a while. But she did a great job blocking and hitting the ball, and then digging it up in the back row. I was proud of her.”
Burton also praised the play of Elise Matz and Alisa Prior.
“Elise Matz has really come on as a hitter,” Burton said. “She put some good ones down. Alisa Prior did a nice job in the back row for us over the weekend.”
Burton said her team will need to grow from the weekend’s experience.
“They’re pretty frustrated with how things are going right now, but I do believe we will improve throughout the year,” she said.
Haven-It’s a toss-up whether Hillsboro truly defeated the Haven Wildcats in both matches at its home opener Tuesday, or simply outlasted them.
The Trojans came back from the edge of elimination in both matches to beat the Wildcats 3-2 on a night of experimental rally scoring that wore on to almost 11 p.m.
The time factor almost overshadowed the thrill of two gutty comebacks by the Trojans.
In the first match, Hillsboro was down 2-1 in games and trailed 13-9 in the third and potentially final game of the match before rallying for a 22-20 win. The Trojans then dominated the fifth and deciding game, 15-9.
In the second match, Haven prevailed 21-13 and 21-16 in the first two games before the Trojans rallied to win the next three games and the match, 21-15, 21-17, 15-8.
A complete report of the Haven matches appears in the Sept. 12 Free Press Extra.
Coming-The Trojans (3-6) were scheduled to play Lyons yesterday.
The next varsity action will take place Tuesday in Lindsborg against Mid Central Activities Association foe Smoky Valley. Matches begin at 5 p.m.