Moundridge wins battle of unbeatens

As anticipated, the teams ranked No. 1 in Class 2A and 3A made it to the championship match of the Canton-Galva Invitational on Saturday.

But the battle between undefeated Moundridge and Hillsboro never really lived up to expectations. On this day at least, the Wildcats were clearly the dominant team in a 25-19, 25-12 sweep of the Trojans.

“I’m not so disappointed in the outcome, I’m disappointed in the performance,” said Hillsboro coach Sandy Arnold. “But you only get one shot at them and you’ve got to make the most of it.

“We didn’t do it.”

In both games, Moundridge jumped to an early lead and the Trojans simply could not climb out of the hole.

The Wildcats scored the first three points of Game 1 and led 2-8 in the early stages. The margin never was closer than five points until late in the game, when the Trojans scored three straight points to climb to within four, 17-21. But the Wildcats regrouped and completed the six-point win.

In Game 2, Moundridge jumped to a 4-0 margin. Hillsboro scored the next two points, but the Wildcats slowly extended its lead until finishing with its biggest spread at the very end.

Arnold said her team might have been intimidated by the Moundridge mystique, but she also said the Wildcats are simply a very good team.

“We tried to exploit their weaknesses a little bit, and I thought we did better at it at the end of the first game,” Arnold said. “I’m not really sure what happened in the second game. We tried to do a few things, but they picked up a lot of the stuff we threw at them.”

To get to the finals, the Trojans needed to be among the top two teams in their four-team pool. They came pool play through only slightly wounded, needing three games to beat eighth-seeded Canton-Galva (24-26, 25-17, 25-15) before sweeping Hesston (25-12, 25-14) and Little River (25-22, 25-22).

The Game 1 loss to Canton-Galva ended a Hillsboro winning streak of 30 straight games that stretched back to the preseason league tournament.

“That (Canton-Galva) match always carries some emotion for me,” said Arnold, who coached volleyball at CGHS before starting at Hillsboro three years ago. “I had all those girls at some point, so it was still kind of hard.”

Amanda Bina, Hillsboro’s libero and back-row specialist, injured her ankle during the match with Little River and was lost for the rest of the day.

“It threw our lineup off a bit, but it also didn’t,” Arnold said. “We’ve played with Jess Klose as the libero before, and I wasn’t worried about that. It’s just a different lineup, that’s all. We have to be ready for that stuff and fight through adversity.”

Hillsboro made it to the championship match by defeating Wichita Home School in the semifinals, 25-15, 25-17.

Trojans JuliAnne Chisholm, Tina Frick and Amy Neufeld were named to the all-tournament team.

“I was especially pleased to see Amy get recognized,” Arnold said. “I thought she had a breakout day again after struggling some lately with her hitting.”

Kylie Haines of Canton-Galva also made the team.

Coming-Hillsboro (20-1 overall and 6-0 in the Mid-Central Activities Association) was scheduled to take on Wichita Collegiate Tuesday in a league dual at Wichita.

Next Tuesday the Trojans will travel to Hesston for a dual that will complete league play.

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