Goessel volleyball qualifies for state

For the fourth-consecutive year, the Goessel volleyball team has punched its ticket to the state tournament with a sub-state championship victory.

As the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A, Division I sub-state hosted by Peabody-Burns Saturday, the Bluebirds secured a first-round bye. Goessel faced fifth-seeded Burlingame in the semifinals and earned a 2-0 win, 25-9, 25-7.

That pitted Goessel against second-seeded Rural Vista in the championship. Goessel won in two sets, 25-11, 25-13.

“I thought we went in focused and ready to go,” coach Crysta Guhr said. “In particular, Olivia Duerksen played very well all the way around, but all players showed that they are ready for the next level of play this coming weekend.”

Guhr said her team’s athleticism has provided a catalyst for success.

“When we pass well, we can do a lot at the net to confuse blockers,” she said. “We are also a good blocking team and have been successful in slowing down or changing what other teams’ hitters want to do. I think we also have been able to affect a lot of teams with our serving. We try to be very strategic in where we place the ball.”

Coming—Goessel (38-1) has received the No. 2 seed in the Class 1A, Division I state tournament. Pool play begins Friday, with the Bluebirds facing No. 7 Dighton (28-9) at 3:30 p.m. Goessel will face No. 6 Lebo (29-7) at 5:30 p.m. and No. 3 Kiowa-South Barber (34-3) at 8:30 p.m.

The other half of the bracket features No. 1 Centralia (40-0), No. 4 LaCrosse (33-5), No. 5 Hanover (34-7) and No. 8 Pretty Prairie (23-11).

Semifinal matches will be played Saturday at 2 p.m. The consolation and championship matches will begin 15 minutes after the conclusion of the last semifinal match.

“Looking ahead to this weekend, we are very excited to see some new teams and take on some bigger challenges,” Guhr said. “We love to play good, quality volleyball against tough competition. We crave the competition that comes with that. The last two years, we have played very similar opponents in pool play, but this year we see three teams we have never seen before.

“Ultimately, I think what our success comes down to is playing our game. We need to win the first contact game with serving and passing. When we do that, we’re pretty good. If we can communicate well and slow down some hitters, I think we have a shot.”