Trojans seventh in CKL tourney

Trojan senior Taylor Helmer delivers a serve against Halstead during their opening match at the Central Kansas League Pre-season Tournament in Haven. Hillsboro posted a 2-4 record for the day to place seventh.
Trojan senior Taylor Helmer delivers a serve against Halstead during their opening match at the Central Kansas League Pre-season Tournament in Haven. Hillsboro posted a 2-4 record for the day to place seventh.
Hillsboro’s volleyball team opened its competitive season Saturday, finishing seventh among 11 teams at the Pre-Season Central Kansas League Tournament hosted by Haven.

The Trojans finished the day with a 2-4 record, but coach Sandy Arnold said her team could have finished the day with a 4-2 mark.

“Of the four losses, we should have won two,” Arnold said. “I know coached always say that, but we had our opportunities.”

Case in point was the Trojans’ opening match with Halstead. Hillsboro came up just short, 23-25, 20-25, in a competitive battle.

“We got down in both games, but showed a lot of courage and never-give-up,” Arnold said. “We were down by as much 6-10 in the first game, but we came back and played pretty good.

“It wasn’t like we did a lot of bad things. For our first match, it wasn’t too bad. But I wish we could have gotten over the hump in that one.”

Hillsboro regrouped to defeat Lyons in another close contest, 25-23, 28-26.

In their third pool-play game against league power Hesston, the Trojans lost 6-26, 12-25.

“It took us the first game to not be nervous,” Arnold said about the match-up. “After that, I’d say the first 10 points of the second game we played pretty well. When we hit the ball, it felt like we found a couple of their weak­nesses, but we just can’t do it consistently.”

As the No. 3 finisher in its four-team pool, Hills­boro faced another CKL power, Kingman, in the first round of the championship bracket. Hillsboro lost the first set, 11-25, but came up just short in the second one, 24-26.

“In the second game, we played them really well,” Arnold said. “We had opportunities even to win that one. Had we played like that against some of the other teams, I thought we could have won more.”

The Trojans followed the Kingman loss with a disappointing 23-25, 20-25 loss to Larned, then defeated Hoisington in the seventh-place match, 25-17, 25-22.

“Larned was one of the teams I felt we shouldn’t have lost to,” Arnold said. “It was nip-and-tuck and back-and-forth—again, we made some silly errors. We don’t have a terminator, so we’re still looking for that.”

The win over Hoisington was a gutty ending for a tired team, Arnold said.

“We learned a lot about ourselves. The coaches and I have a long list to work on, and that’s good. That’s what we want, because we want to be better the next time we play these teams.”

Coming—The Trojans will travel to Pratt for a double-dual Wednesday against the Greenbacks, who claimed fifth place at the CKL tournament with a 3-1 record at Haven, and Halstead.