Volleyball season ends in sub-state openers for Hillsboro, Marion

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF & ERIC CLARK
The Hillsboro and Marion volleyball teams both made early exits at their tough Class 3A sub-state tournament in Lyons Saturday.

The Trojans, seeded eighth, lost to top-seeded Lyons, 1-15, 6-15, in the opening match of the tournament.

Marion, the fourth seed, went out next with a 12-15, 7-15 defeat at the hands of fifth-seeded Ellinwood.

The eight-team field included only two schools with a losing record.

Lyons, which came in at 25-4, made it to the finals before losing to a fellow Mid Central Activities Association school from Hesston, 7-15, 10-15, for the title and a berth at state. The Swathers were seeded second at 23-6.

“It was a competitive sub-state,” said Hillsboro coach Collette Burton. “There were some real tough teams there.”

Her team came out flat in the opening game, falling behind 8-0 before managing a point. The Trojans looked a bit more intentional in the second game, and were as close as 10-6 late in the game, but couldn’t score the rest of the way.

“We really struggled getting started,” Burton said. “Mentally, our game wasn’t ready.”

It didn’t help that a couple of seniors had to take ACT tests in the morning and only arrived in Lyons a few minutes before game time. Another starter, Charity Davis, missed the tournament because of illness.

“That hurt us, but we just didn’t have much confidence going in,” Burton said.

The sub-state loss ended the Trojans’ season with a 6-20 record, the first losing record under Burton, who has completed four years at the helm.

“This team continually improved throughout the year,” she said. “I think it was a good season as a learning experience for the younger players. I think it will help prepare them for next season.”

Marion, meanwhile, with its loss to Ellinwood, closed out a successful season at 17-9.

“I felt we played well against Ellinwood,” Robert said. “Ellinwood had an aggressive attacking team. They ran a lot of stuff at us that we hadn’t really seen all year. We made some little adjustments, but I guess it just one of those things that wasn’t meant to be.

“We didn’t expect to go out in the first round,” she added. “But I was still very proud of (our players), especially playing hard in the second match after getting beat in a close match in the first game.”

Robert said her first season as the Warrior coach has been a good one.

“I was very happy about the season overall,” she said. “Unfortunately, the majority of our losses came in the last couple of weeks in the season, and you don’t want to end like that. But the future of Marion volleyball looks bright.”

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