Marion volleyball claims 4th

The mere fact that coach Jim Versch looks at the Marion High School volleyball team?s fourth-place finish at the tournament in Marion Saturday at least partially as a loss to be explained rather than as the crown jewel of the season so far speaks volumes about the strides the Warriors are expected to make this season.

And they are, in fact, making strides.

Marion, 8-23 a season ago, got a taste of first place at the Centre Invitational a week ago and matched its 2007 win total with a 2-3 showing at its home event this week.

The Warriors defeated Eureka (25-23, 25-20) to win its first match under the lights of the new gymnasium. Marion then whacked Halstead (25-19, 28-26) to stake a claim to a berth in bracket play.

Sedgwick (23-25, 25-11, 17-25), Collegiate (23-25, 10-25) and Desoto (18-25, 25-22, 18-25) all defeated the Warriors. Although the 8-11 mark is certain to be seen as dramatic improvement early on, Versch believes that his team will continue to grow.

He noted that his team broke out of one unexpected slump.

?In the Eureka game, it was a pretty tough match?they?re a good team?and we played really well,? he said. ?That was our first win in four tries at the new gym.

?We were starting to think we had some kind of jinx,? he said. ?But now we?re over that.?

He noted that defeating Halstead did not break new ground, as the Warriors defeated the Dragons at the MCAA tournament two weeks prior.

?We knew after that that we would get out of pool play,? Versch said. ?I?d have to get out the history books to find out when the last time Marion made it out of pool play in two tournaments in one year.

?So that was a nice achievement for us,? he added.

After a long break, the Warriors faced Collegiate and, in Versch?s words, ?kind of gave up? after dropping the first game against the Spartans.

Marion then faced Desoto and promptly lost both setter Chassidy Carlson to an ankle sprain and the first game.

?The injury just killed us,? Versch said Monday, noting that Carlson?s availability for Tuesday?s games against Collegiate and Hesston would not be known until after the press deadline.

?If she?s not ready to go, we?ll play with one setter?which we should have done when she went out against Desoto,? Versch said. ?But I didn?t think quickly enough on my feet to do it.?

After the injury, fatigue became a factor. After Marion won the second game, fatigue became a problem.

?We just looked physically tired,? Versch said. ?I don?t know if it was practicing at 6:30 a.m. Friday combined with homecoming or if it?s playing three Saturdays in a row, or if it?s five matches two Saturdays in a row….that?s a lot of volleyball.?

Coming?Marion (8-11) faced Hesston in a league match Tuesday in a triangular at Wichita Collegiate.

The pace of the Warriors schedule slows, with its next matches Tuesday, Sept. 30, at home.

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