The Hillsboro volleyball team verified its No. 1 seed at the Class 3A sub-state tournament in Marion Saturday, winning all three of its matches in two-game sweeps to secure a berth at the state tournament Friday in Salina?s Bicentennial Center.
The Trojans, now 32-6 for the season, claimed the tournament title — and a bit of revenge — by beating Halstead in the finals, 25-21, 25-10 with a dominant performance in Game 2. The Dragons, the No. 3 seed, had beaten the Trojans only 11 days earlier, to slip past Hillsboro for second place in the Central Kansas League. The Dragons led for much of Game 1 on Saturday, and as late as 20-19, before Addie Lackey served four straight points to put the Trojans ahead 24-20.
With Lackey serving to start Game 2, the Trojans jumped to a 3-0 lead and never trailed. Led by the thunderous hits of junior hitter Tena Loewen, with great complementary play from both the front and back rows, Hillsboro blazed a clear trail to the title with a 15-point spread in Game 2.
To reach the finals, the Trojans defeated No. 8 seeded Marion, 25-15, 25-21, in the first round. Then, after a four-hour wait for start of the semifinal match, the Trojans overcame a sluggish start against No. 4 Sacred Heart. HHS took its first lead in Game 1 at 21-20 on an ace serve by Lackey and finally nailed down a 25-22 win. The Trojans then scored the first six points of Game 2, with Lackey serving, and went on to qualify for the finals with a 25-17 victory for the two-game sweep.
For seniors Krista Reimer, Callie Serene, Sammy Koons and Lindsey Brazil, this will be the fourth trip to Salina in four years of competition. In each of the three previous trips, Hills?boro did not survive pool play.
For coach Sandy Arnold, this will be the sixth trip to state in eight years at the Trojan helm.