ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
The Hillsboro High School volleyball team will face the kind of challenge its coach believes it needs when it plays host to a strong field at the Trojan Invitational on Saturday.
Tournament seedings will be determined Wednesday, according to Max Heinrichs, activities director. The Trojans will be the No. 1 seed if it managed to sweep Hesston on Tuesday in the final league dual of the season.
Joining Hillsboro, ranked second in Class 3A with a 22-1 record, will be Hoisington, who is ranked No. 3 in 3A with only two losses.
One of those losses was to Hillsboro in the MCAA preseason tournament, and the other loss was to highly regarded Minneapolis, which also will be part of the tournament’s eight-team field.
Perennial power Conway Springs will round out the four teams favored to make it out of pool play and into the championship bracket.
“These are the kind of contests we need at this time of the year,” Trojan coach Sandy Arnold said. “They will help prepare us for sub-state and, hopefully, further post-season play.”
Hoping to pull some upsets are Marion, Herington, Sterling and Chapman.
Hillsboro has been focusing on its defense following its sweep of Wichita Collegiate on Oct. 3. The Trojans won the first match, 25-19, 25-16, and the nitecap, 25-16, 25-14.
“We were a little flat, a little dead,” Arnold said. “We didn’t play as good of defense as I wanted, so it’s kind of been our focus this past week.
“Our focus now is defense and consistency in everything-setting, passing, hitting,” she added. “I mean, you have to fine-tune everything at this point in the year.”
Sub-state volleyball tournaments assignments were released this past week. Hillsboro will have the privilege of playing at home Oct. 21 for the chance to move on to state.
“We’re very excited about it,” she said. “We won’t overlook anybody. Lyons is back and they always make me nervous.”
Also in the eight-team field are Marion, Haven, Halstead, Hesston, Hutchinson Trinity and Remington.