HHS volleyball opens league with four wins

Hillsboro?s volleyball team made it through the first week of league play tested but unscathed, sweeping two matches at Hesston Tuesday and two more at Lyons Thursday.

Opening night at Hesston featured wins over two of the Trojans? closest rivals, first a 25-23, 25-15 win over Marion, then a 25-18, 25-21 victory over the home-town Swathers.

The match against the Warriors proved to be a close battle through Game 1 as the Trojans sought to avenge a loss suffered in the league?s preseason tournament.

Coach Sandy Arnold said she tried to diminish that motivation.

?Sometimes we get too worked up about the rivalry,? she said. ?I don?t want them to be that way. I just want them to do the things to not allow Marion to play as good as they can?let?s do what we need to do on our side of the court.?

Five missed serves in Game 1 wasn?t part of Arnold?s equation.

?We?re serving for strategy, and sometimes my girls try too hard to get it just in the right place,? Arnold said. ?It doesn?t have to be a bullet or hugging a line; it just needs to be in a certain spot. When we did that better the next game, then we played better.?

Against Hesston, the Trojans played a much more consistent match.

?We didn?t miss near as many serves,? Arnold said. ?We attacked the ball well, we covered fairly well (on defense), which you have to against Chew,? said Arnold, referring to Dominique Chew, who was a unanimous all-league selection last year as a sophomore.

Two nights later at Lyons, the Trojans struggled against a pair of teams that, at least on paper, should not have put up as stiff a fight as Tuesday?s competition.

Hillsboro slipped past the home team, 25-20, 26-24, and then escaped Nickerson in Game 1, 26-24, before pulling away in Game 2, 25-9.

The Trojans actually were one point from losing Game 2, 23-24, when they responded to an Arnold timeout by closing out the Lions behind the serving of Dakota Kaufman.

The struggle continued into Game 1 against Nickerson. The Trojans trailed as much as 11-18, and still trailed 18-23 before Arnold called another late timeout.

?We just talked about adjusting our defense better because of the way they were attacking the ball,? Arnold said. ?We needed to move our feet better, read the tendencies of the other hitters a little better, and then we needed to attack. And we did that.?

Taryn Mayfield served the Trojans into a 23-23 tie before the Panthers scored a point. But when Nickerson missed its serve, Hillsboro closed out the game behind the serving of Franny Gottsch.

The Trojans finally clicked in Game 2, jumping to a 7-1 lead behind Gottsch?s serves, and never backed off.

Arnold said the key lesson she hopes her team learned from the first week of league play is that it has to be ready to play no matter who the opponent is.

?My girls were very ready to play Tuesday night,? she said. ?I didn?t think they were as ready on Thursday night.?

Coming?The Trojans were scheduled to travel to Ellinwood Tuesday for a double dual?including their first matchup against league-leading Wichita Collegiate, who at last report was undefeated for the season and currently ranked No. 1 in Class 3A.

The Trojans? next match will be a triangular at home Tuesday, Sept. 22. Matches begin at 5 p.m.

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