When it was over, the Trojans accumulated a 2-8 record and a lot of big-game experience.
The week began Tuesday at home, when league-title contenders Nickerson and Smoky Valley came to Brown Gymnasium.
The Trojans lost to a young but talented Nickerson squad, ranked ninth in Class 4A-Div. II, 25-22, 25-13. Smoky Valley, ranked eighth, defeated the home team, 25-19, 25-10.
“We tend to play really hard (in the first game), then we don’t quite get over the hump—and then we seem to fall apart mentally. in the second game,” coach Sandy Arnold said. “So we have a lot of work to do there.”
Two days later, Class 5A schools Great Bend and Emporia came to town. Great Bend defeated the home team 25-15, 25-16, and Emporia, ranked ninth in the state, claimed a 25-16, 25-20 victory.
“I was disappointed in the Great Bend match,” Arnold said. “I didn’t feel like we played our best. But, if there is such a thing as a moral victory, I feel like we played better against Emporia and competed. But I’d like to get that to a victory.”
The week culminated with a tournament field with schools ranging in size from Class 3A through 6A.
Hillsboro opened with losses to Goddard, 12-25, 21-25, and Garden Plain, 23-25, 16-25, before knocking of Lyons, 27-25, 25-20, a team that had between the Trojans twice earlier this season.
From there, Hillsboro lost to Hutchinson, 25-20, 24-26, 16-25, and McPherson, 21-25, 10-25, before knocking off Junction City, 25-19, 25-20.
“It was a tough tournament, we knew that going in,” Arnold said. “I wish we would have been a little more confident in what we could do. If we could do that, and limit some mistakes, that would help us tremendously.”
The marathon week is not new for the Trojan program.
“It’s every year, this is what we go through at this part of the season,” Arnold said. “We all have to suck it up, coaches and the players.
“I know playing these tough teams is hard, but we’re trying to get through it and learn from it. I’d rather play them and get better than play easy teams and not really have to improve much.”
Arnold said she was pleased her team was beginning to incorporate some of the skills learned in practice against live competition.
“I don’t want them to be satisfied with just playing well,” she said. “That may not sound so good to some people, but at some point you’ve got to get over the hump. There are times when there are moral victories, but there are also times when it’s a challenge and you need it get it done.”
Coming—The Trojans (9-20) were schedule to take on league foes Haven and Halstead Tuesday, then will host the Trojan Invitational on Saturday.
The tournament field also includes Augusta, Chapman, Circle, Minneapolis, Rock Creek, Sunrise Christian and Andale. Matches begin at 9 a.m.