Hillsboro captured third place with a 2-3 record at the Trojan Invitational on Saturday.
The Trojans began pool play against Chapman. The host squad won the first set, 25-15, but the loss apparently woke up the Irish, who won the next two sets, 25-18, 25-23 to claim the win.
“I thought we played pretty good against Chapman,” coach Sandy Arnold said. “(The Irish) were slow to show up, and then in the second set we slowed down a little bit.
“We passed well and were attacking the whole time, and then we get away from that, and when that happens, we just don’t play as well.”
The second pool battle ended in Circle’s favor after the Trojans won the first set, 20-25. Circle rallied to win the next two, 25-17, 25-18, for the victory.
“I don’t know what happened to us against Circle—it was not one of our better matches,” Arnold said. “We just seemed to struggle and a lot of that was our passing.”
In the final pool matchup against Augusta, Hillsboro registered its first win, 22-25, 25-21, 25-22, which was enough to qualify for bracket play with a 1-2 record.
“I told the girls we still had a chance to move on because everybody had split,” Arnold said. “I told them this would be a big match for us. I didn’t really say we had to win to get in.
“We had to be tough to hang on to that one,” she added. “It was a close match.”
Hillsboro faced off with Minneapolis in the bracket semifinals. By that point Arnold’s team had played three straight three-set matches.
“I think we were kind of wiped out at that point,” Arnold said. “I started subbing some people, just to give us some fresh legs, and that seemed to help a little bit. We just couldn’t get over the hump.
With a 25-15, 25-19 loss to Minneapolis, the Trojans ended the day the way they started it: taking on Chapman. This time, the Trojans prevailed in a fourth three-set match: 22-25, 25-21, 25-22.
“There were a couple of factors,” Arnold said about the win. “I think they were disappointed (with the semifinal loss). I subbed in that game and played Teegan (Werth, a freshman) all the way around—just having the fresh legs really helped us with a little more energy and enthusiasm.”
The day was a roller coaster kind ride, Arnold said.
“I think we started OK, I was disappointed with the Circle game, and then we came back, and then I was disappointed with Minneapolis,” she said. “The way we ended the day was great. There was a lot of fire in us, they were having fun, the crowd was into it. If we can take that momentum and finish our the year with it, that would be awesome.”
Lyons—Hillsboro completed league play on a high note Oct. 10 by sweeping a pair of wins at a triangular hosted by Lyons.
The Trojans defeated Lyons (3-7), 13-25, 25-17, 29-27, then defeated Hoisington (2-8), 25-14, 25-16 to tie Halstead for fourth place in the 11-school Central Kansas League with a 6-4 record.
“That was one of my goals, to finish in the top four,” Arnold said. “The top three teams were going to be hard to beat, but I thought on any night anyone could beat anyone else. We had to win the games we should, and I was happy that we did that—except for the Larned loss.”
Coming—Hillsboro was to complete its regular season Oct. 17 at Hutchinson Trinity with games against the host school and Sterling.
On Saturday, Hillsboro will head down the highway to Marion for the Class 2A regional. In addition to the Trojans and Warriors, the field includes Northern Heights, Canton-Galva, Goessel, Herington, Olpe and Wabaunsee.