HILLSBORO WINS 3A STATE VOLLEYBALL TITLE

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?Uncommon,? indeed.

The Hillsboro High School volleyball team took its season theme to the max Saturday, claiming only the second state volleyball championship in school history with a two-game sweep over No. 1 seeded Hoisington in the Class 3A title match in Salina?s Bicentennial Center.

Twenty-four years after an HHS team claimed the 1987 state title, this Trojan team swept through the 2011 tournament with a perfect 5-0 record, losing only one game — against Hoisington in the last of three pool matches on Friday.

The Trojans began Saturday with a 25-15, 25-15 thumping of sixth-seeded Marysville (26-14) in the semifinals. HHS wasted no time, jumping to an 8-1 lead against the Pool B runner-up behind a five-point serving run by senior Callie Serene. The Trojans? lead reached double digits at 19-9 thanks to a five-point serving run by senior Krista Reimer, and grew to as much as 12 at 23-11 when Tena Loewen stuffed a kill at the net.

Game 2 was closer until the end. Hillsboro jumped to a 6-1 lead, and the margin stayed at about that level until another kill by Loewen forced a side out for a 22-15 lead and Addie Lackey served for the final two points for the match.

That put Hillsboro in the finals against Hoisington, who defeated Pool B winner Phillips?burg (seeded third at 34-6) in three games during their semifinal match.

Hillsboro led for most of Game 1 after Reimer?s block at the net gave Hillsboro a 5-4 lead. Hoisington stayed within three before tying the game at 10. When Lackey stepped in to serve with Hillsboro clinging to a 13-12 lead, the sophomore started with an ace and kept the ball in play for six straight points and a 19-12 lead.

The Cardinals never recovered, and a four-point serving run by Serene and the final three serves by Danae Bina nailed down the 25-17 win.

Hillsboro held an early but thin lead in Game 2 until the Cardinals tied it at 10. Hoisington surged ahead and eventually led by as much as 15-12. But the Trojans kept nipping at Hoisington?s heels until pulling into a 21-21 tie on a mis-hit by the Cardinals? standout left-handed hitter, Mallory Flaggor. The match was tied again at 22 and 23 before Loewen delivered a kill for the 24th point and Serene served for the championship.

The win capped a memorable seniors season for Reimer, Serene, Sammy Koons and Lindsey Brazil. Hillsboro?s season record of 39-6 was the best since 2005, when HHS was 35-3 and placed third at state. For coach Sandy Arnold, it was the first championship in her eight years and six trips to state at HHS.

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