Marion wins HOA tournament title

Kourtney Hansen passes the ball during Set 1 against Remington Saturday. Marion won the match, 25-20, 25-13, and went 5-1 on the day to claim the Heart of America league tournament championship title for the second consecutive year.The Marion volleyball team secured its second-consecutive Heart of America tournament championship Saturday with a 5-1 record.

“The girls really came together on Saturday, just like I knew they could,” coach Brea Campbell said. “I believe that this tournament was extremely important for us at this time because we needed some more wins before we got seeded for sub-state.” 

Marion started strong by defeating Bennington, 25-15, 25-12.

“This was a good game to start with,” Campbell said. “It wasn’t a walk in the park, but we knew that we could handle Bennington, which is what we needed to get ready for the match against Remington.” 

The Warriors then defeated Remington, 25-20, 25-13. Marion had lost to Remington in three sets at Peabody the Tuesday prior.

“I told the girls this was revenge from Tuesday, and that is exactly how the girls handled it,” Campbell said.

The Warriors suffered their only loss of the day to Inman, 25-17, 25-22.

“This was a tough loss,” Campbell said. “We knew that play layout for the tournament was going to be tough because we had to play three matches in a row. Inman was a very good team and everything was working for them, but we ran out of fuel.”

Marion concluded pool play by defeating Berean Academy for a fifth time this season, 25-20, 25-22.

“We knew that we had to beat Berean in two games in order to have a shot for bracket play,” Campbell said. “The girls did exactly that. It was a little slow of a start, but I kept emphasizing to the girls that we could not go into three games, and they pulled through.”

Marion concluded pool play in a three-way tie for first with a 3-1 record. In the end, Inman won the tie-breaker and the Warriors were runners-up.

In the semifinals, Marion faced Sedgwick, who had swept all four of its Pool 2 games. The Warriors won in two sets, 25-17, 25-23.

“This is not when we thought we would see Sedgwick in the day, but the girls were really excited to play them,” Campbell said. “Everything clicked for us. Our defense looked awesome, and we played so aggressive on the net. The girls were feeding off each other’s energy, and that is always a great thing to see as a coach.”

That pitted Marion against Hutchinson Trinity in the championship for the second-consecutive year. The Celtics advanced to the title game by going 3-1 in pool play and defeating Inman in the semifinals.

To claim the championship, the Warriors battled to a narrow victory, winning Sets 1 and 2 by the same, 25-23, margin.

“The girls pushed through this game, but we were nervous because I knew they were running out of energy,” Campbell said. “Playing six matches in a day really takes its toll after awhile.

“Trinity had a key player that could really hit the ball, but our blockers did a great job, and Shelby Felvus did a great job of digging her up. We also knew that we had to hit the ball hard in order to mess up their defense, and that is exactly what we did.”

Peabody-Burns—Marion won two of three Tuesday.

The Warriors opened by earning a 2-0, 25-22, 25-19, victory over Berean Academy.

“This was a tougher match with Berean than we have had in the past,” coach Brea Campbell said. “Our girls had to come out very strong. The first game, there was a lot of back and forth scoring, but the girls kept the fight. The second game, our girls had the momentum, and we came out very strong.”

Marion then faced Remington a second time. Having defeated the Broncos in two sets at Ell-Saline last month, this time Marion came up short, 2-1.

Remington won Set 1, 26-24, but Marion battled back to win Set 2, 25-14. In Set 3, Marion trailed 23-16 but battled back into contention, only to lose by two, 25-23.

“This was also a very tough match,” Campbell said. “Our girls knew when we had to put the ball down and get on a roll. It was very back and forth. We had a great front row, and our back-row players did very well also. The girls fought very hard, it just did not end up in our favor.”

Marion concluded the night by defeating Peabody-Burns, 25-14, 25-16.

“It (was) a hard game to play coming directly from the loss of Remington, but the girls pulled it off,” Campbell said. “That is what I love about this team—even when they are tired, they still know what has to get done.”

Coming—Marion (27-10) will compete at a Class 3A sub-state tournament hosted by Riley County Saturday. Teams in the field in addition to the Warriors and the host school include Council Grove, Mission Valley, Southeast of Saline, Rossville, Silver Lake and St. Marys.

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