The Hillsboro volleyball team may have saved some of its play for the Class 2A sub-state tournament at Marion on Saturday.
The Trojans, seeded fifth, faced Wabaunsee, the fourth seed, in the first round. Hillsboro started slowly, falling behind with a 4-1 deficit.
“The first four points were a little shaky, but then we came out and attacked—which is what we’ve been trying to get them to do all season,” coach Sandy Arnold said. “When they do that, they’re a much better team.”
Hillsboro made the rest of the match look easy, closing out the first set 25-17, and then the second set, 25-7.
“I was pleased with that, and thought we served well and got them out of system,” Arnold said. “Wabaunsee was a young team, too, and that may have flustered them a little bit.”
Advancing to the semifinals, the Trojans faced Goessel, the No. 1 seed at 39-0. The Bluebirds took the first set 25-15, but the Trojans took the second set, 25-18. It was only the second time all season an opponent claimed even a set.
Unfortunately, the magic ended in the deciding third set, which Goessel claimed by a score of 25-11.
“I wish we could have hung in there, but eventually their forces got through it,” Arnold said. “Even the first set, I thought the score didn’t reflect how close the set really was.
“I thought we did some things that opened our eyes to what we could do,” she added. “Maybe that’s what led us into the second set. We found some holes and were able to hit that spot or hit through the block.”
Arnold will lose four core seniors for next season, but she’s excited about the underclassmen who will return.
“I think they bring a lot of enthusiasm, fire and passion,” she said. “I’m excited to see what we’re going to have here in the next couple of years.”
Hillsboro finished the season with an 18-22 record.
“We definitely had our ups and downs, but I felt like this past weekend was a good way to go out,” Arnold said.