Marion makes semi-finals at tourney

Lily Lundy attacks the net during Marion’s match with Sterling at the Heart of America league tournament Saturday. The Warriors defeated the Black Bears in three sets, 25-22, 27-29, 25-21. Allison Shults/Special to the Free Press
Lily Lundy attacks the net during Marion’s match with Sterling at the Heart of America league tournament Saturday. The Warriors defeated the Black Bears in three sets, 25-22, 27-29, 25-21. Allison Shults/Special to the Free Press
The Marion volleyball team advanced to the semifinals at the Heart of America league tournament at Sterling Saturday, finishing with a record of 3-2 on the day.

The Warriors went 3-1 in pool play, rebounding after a tournament-opening loss to Hutchinson Trinity, 25-17, 25-10.

Marion swept its next three opponents in pool play.

The Warriors defeated Ell-Saline, 25-17, 25-16. In the teams’ first meeting Sept. 25, it took Marion three sets to earn a victory.

Marion then defeated Sterling in three sets, 25-22, 27-29, 25-21, having lost a two-set match with the Black Bears the week before.

The Warriors concluded pool play by defeating Inman, 25-10, 25-19. Earlier in the season, Marion lost a two-set match to the Teutons at Bennington, 25-16, 26-24.

In the semifinals, Marion lost to Moundridge in three sets, 25-18, 26-28, 25-21, having lost to the Wildcats in two sets the week before.

Coach Kris Burkholder attributed the Warriors’ success in defeating teams like Sterling and Inman, to whom Marion previously lost, to the Warriors’ aggressiveness.

“We have been much more aggressive in all aspects of the game,” she said. “We’ve really worked on that. … We’ve also worked on reading the defense better and trying to hit the holes.

“We’ve really tried to better our game by working on some things where we can hopefully get our opponent out of system.”

Burkholder also praised her team’s serving effort.

Berean Academy—Marion swept three opponents at Berean Academy Tuesday.

“We made very few errors,” coach Kris Burkholder said. “Each player did her job and trusted in her teammates to do their job. Mentally, we stayed focused, and we came together as a team and battled hard when we needed to battle.”

Marion faced the home team first and two in two sets, 25-22, 25-20. Tori Shults and Laura Savage each recorded five kills to lead the team. Jayden May had three service aces and 14 digs, while Savage tallied four solo blocks. Chloe Burkholder recorded 11 assists.

Marion then defeated Peabody-Burns, 25-23, 25-20. Chisholm Waner led the Warriors with four kills. Shults and Savage each had two solo blocks. May recorded 12 digs, and Burkholder had 10 assists.

The Warriors concluded the outing with a three-set win over Remington. Marion won Set 1, 25-21, then lost a highly-contested Set 2, 26-24, before battling back to win Set 3, 25-23 and claim the victory. Shults hit .226 in the match, recording 11 kills to lead the team. Waner had three service aces, while Shults and Savage each recorded four solo blocks. Burkholder had 23 digs and 22 assists.

Coach Burkholder praised her team’s serve-receive, passing and serving on the night.

Coming—Marion (17-18) will compete at the Class 2A sub-state hosted by Inman Saturday. In addition to the home team and the Warriors, the field includes Canton-Galva, Ellinwood, Ellsworth, Goessel, Hillsboro and Sterling.

The Warriors have won six of their last eight matches heading into sub-state.

“We’re peaking at the end of our season, so we’re right where we need to be at this time of our season,” Burkholder said. “We’re excited about our sub-state. We feel like we can compete with any of those teams in our sub-state.”