V-ball experiment yields mixed results

Hillsboro?s foray into some extra big-school competition ended with mixed results Thursday when the Trojan volleyball team split a pair of matches at Great Bend.

In the opener, Hillsboro defeated the home team, 25-21, 25-16, but in the nightcap the Trojans fell to Newton, 25-13, 27-25.

The triangular was a late addition to the season schedule with the intent of giving the Trojans some competitive experience against larger schools.

Coach Sandy Arnold didn?t feel her team, now 21-6, played to its capabilities, especially against Newton.

?We didn?t decide to play until halfway through the second game,? Arnold said. ?We were down 13-20, then came back and went ahead. It seesawed back and forth, and then we missed some serves at the end.?

Great Bend was not as strong a team as Newton, she added, even though they had a couple of good athletes.

?They took Newton to the wire in their two games, which surprised me,? she added. ?But we served pretty well and kind of got them flustered after that.

?It wasn?t our best night of playing,? she added. ?We weren?t as intense I would have liked to have seen us in both matches. We didn?t have the intensity and fire that we have shown in the last few nights out.?

At the same time, Arnold said the matches were a good thing for her squad.

?I?m still happy with the fact we?re playing some tough teams,? she said. ?I hope in the long run it?s going to help when we get down to the nitty-gritty against tough teams at the end of the season.

?As disappointed as I am, it?s still good experience for us to go out and play some of these bigger schools and realize we are capable of playing with them.?

Hillsboro started its week Tuesday with a couple of hard-fought league victories over Halstead and Marion on the Warriors? home court. The Trojans slipped past the Dragons, 30-28, 25-23, then managed to get by Marion in three games after a slow start, 15-25, 25-17, 25-13.

?We did not play our game of volleyball at all in that first game,? Arnold said of the Marion match. ?We let them dominate, we didn?t play very good defense, we didn?t attack, we didn?t serve very well?and it showed.

?Then, all of a sudden in the second game, we got our confidence back and decided we would do what we wanted to do against them, and that helped disrupt their offense. It kind of turned around from there.?

With the two wins, Hillsboro improved to 10-2 in the league while Marion dropped to 8-4 and Halstead to 2-10.

Coming?The Trojans will start their week Tuesday with a second chance to take on undefeated Wichita Collegiate, which is ranked No. 1 in Class 3A with a 29-0 record overall and a 12-0 mark in the league. Ellinwood (5-7, 16-17) will be the third school at the triangular, which will be played at Collegiate.

On Saturday, Hillsboro will host its annual invitational tournament at Brown Gymnasium. Pool play begins at 9 a.m.

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