The Hillsboro volleyball team achieved its goal of closing out the Canton-Galva Invitational with a victory Saturday. Unfortunately, it came in the third-place match.
The Trojans joined a Central Kansas League sweep at the 31st annual tournament. Hesston won the title by beating Halstead in the finals.
It was the rival Swathers who derailed Hillsboro?s title hopes in the semifinals, 25-15, 27-25. Both teams came into the tournament with identical 17-2 records. Hillsboro won Pool A while Hesston lost to Halstead to finish second in Pool B.
Coach Sandy Arnold blamed passing problems for her team?s slow start in Game 1.
?We knew what we wanted to do and needed to do to beat them, but I didn?t think we executed that very well,? she said. ?When you don?t pass the ball well, you can?t do what you want to do.?
Hillsboro picked up its play in Game 2 and led the Swathers 22-21 when a controversial officiating call gave Hesston the tying point and the ball. The Swathers went on to claim the 27-25 win and a berth in the finals.
The third-place match turned out to be a pool-play rematch with Little River, who had pushed Hillsboro to three games in pool play. This time, though, the Trojans took care of business.
?I was very proud of the girls for the way they came out,? Arnold said. ?I don?t know if they were as deflated as I was after the semifinals, but we talked about how they were going to have to show the class and character and pride that they?ve talked about all year to come out with third place.?
She said she reminded her team that it had more on the line than going home with fourth place.
?I told them it affects our record, which affects our seeding at sub-state,? Arnold said. ?I think the older ones get that.?
Hillsboro responded with two relatively easy wins.
?I thought we handled Little River the way we should have the first time,? Arnold said.
The Trojans won their pool with victories of over Canton-Galva, 25-13, 25-24; Little River, 21-25, 25-15, 25-11; and Sunrise Academy, 25-21, 25-12.
?I thought we started too slowly in all of our matches in pool play,? Arnold said. ?I don?t know that we were quite ready mentally.?
At Lindsborg?The Trojans didn?t bring their ?A? game, but they did pack enough determination to sweep Smoky Valley and Lyons in a pair of league matches Tuesday night.
The wins moved the Trojans into sole possession of first place in the Central Kansas League with a 5-0 mark.
The host Vikings pushed Hillsboro to three games before the Trojans prevailed, 25-23, 20-25, 25-13. After an extended first game against Lyons, HHS asserted itself for a 28-26, 25-16 win.
?I didn?t think we passed very well the whole night,? coach Sandy Arnold said. ?As a result, our setting wasn?t up to par and so our hitting wasn?t up to par.
?Smoky Valley always has a way of making us work hard,? she added. ?The girls somehow found a way to fight through it. It took us to the third game to get things going.?
Against Lyons, the Trojans trailed by two to three points for much of Game 1. Trailing 22-18, Arnold called timeout.
When play resumed, Hillsboro got the ball back on a set play and Sammy Koons served HHS into a 23-22 lead and the Trojans eventually nailed down the win.
The close loss seemed to take the wind out of Lyons? sails as HHS built a 21-12 lead in Game 2.
?They scored more points than we should have let them, because we sort of controlled that second game,? she said.
?It was a tough night,? she added. ?I hope that they understand that you can?t have those nights against everybody and get away with it. But to their credit, we found a way to crawl through it.?
Coming?The Trojans (5-0, 21-3) returned to league play Tues?day at Hesston with a crucial rematch against the Swathers (4-1, 21-3) as well as Sterling (1-4, 3-17).
Hillsboro will take on a couple Class 5A schools Thursday in matches at Newton against the hometown Railers and Great Bend. Matches begin at 5 p.m.