By CONOR NICHOLL
Colby regional: Scott City into rankings; seven .500-plus teams
In the latest Kansas Volleyball Association poll released Wednesday night, Scott City has moved into the rankings and stands at 31-3. SC was not ranked last week and is ninth in 3A this week. Lakin, which went undefeated to win the Hi-Plains League regular season and tournament titles, has enjoyed a strong season with a 27-9 mark.
Rivals Phillipsburg (26-10) and Norton (18-16) match up in the No. 3 seed versus No. 6 seed contest. Phillipsburg has been ranked part of the year in 3A. This is an extremely strong sub-state with seven teams with winning records.
Scott City posted a 7-25 mark in 2015 and then has delivered 27-10, 25-13, and 26-11 records the last three years. The top-two hitters are both seniors with Lyndi Rumford and Emily Weathers. They have 298 and 219 kills, respectively.
Weathers carries a solid .278 average. Scott City is a very strong serving team with 235 aces against just 143 service errors. SC has lost to just Hays High, Olathe West and Kiowa County.
Weathers leads with 43 blocks, and senior Shelby Patton has 264 digs. Scott City has defeated Lakin twice this season with a three-set victory on Sept. 17 and a two-set win on Oct. 12. SC defeated Norton on Oct. 12, and has not played Phillipsburg since before ’15.
Defending champion Silver Lake top seed at Council Grove behind Cobb, Lamprecht
Defending champion Silver Lake (26-11) and second-seeded Smoky Valley (23-14) headline a regional with just four teams that have winning records. SV defeated No. 1 ranked Royal Valley last week. Silver Lake is fifth in 3A. The Eagles defeated Burlington to win the state championship last year. SL has won eight matches in a row entering sub-state.
Silver Lake’s losses have primarily come to ranked higher classification competition, including Topeka Hayden (twice), Topeka Seaman (twice), Shawnee Heights, Manhattan, Lansing, and Lawrence Free State. SL lost in three sets to Royal Valley, ranked No. 1 in 3A, on Sept. 7.
Seniors Lexi Cobb and Daryn Lamprecht are returning all-state in volleyball and softball. Both have won state titles in each sport, and each are committed to a Division I softball school. They easily lead the team in kills. Cobb has 299 with a .289 hitting percentage, and Lamprecht has 269 with a .223 hitting percentage. Lamprecht leads with 41 aces, and senior Taylor Burkhardt has 36 aces. Burkhardt paces with 473 digs (5.4 per set). She has 168 digs more than any other Eagle.
SL has continued to run a two-setter offense with junior Grace Fitzgerald (422 assists) and Cobb (333).
Eureka paces Fredonia regional
The Fredonia regional has just two squads with winning records. No. 1 Eureka (23-9) easily carries the top record. None of the regional squads are ranked. Pam Pitko is the longtime Eureka coach.
After three seasons that combined for 24 victories, Eureka is 27-9, 30-7, 21-12 and 23-9 in the last four seasons. The top-four hitters are all seniors and have between 124 and 101 kills: Chazni Ptacek, Ava Perrier, Amanda Mouer, and Katie Sherman. Sophomore Gracie Walden is one of the state’s dig leaders with 422 (5.9 per set).
Frontenac atop own regional
The Frontenac regional features two of the classification’s top squads in host Frontenac (36-4) and second seeded Riverton (32-6). Third-seeded Baxter Springs (26-12) has also enjoyed a great year. Frontenac is ranked seventh, while Riverton fell out of the poll. Baxter has senior Delaney Barnes. She ranks third in Kansas with 1,059 attacks, average s 4.9 kills per set and carries a .316 average.
Frontenac is 3-0 versus Baxter Springs this year and has won six straight in the series. The Raiders, with Frontenac coach Cassie Rhuems, are also 2-0 versus Riverton this year. Junior Reagan Hipfl and senior Karma Fields each carry at least a .296 average and have 292 and 275 kills, respectively. Senior Bailey Rhuems is second in the state with 529 digs.
Riverton has one of the state’s top freshmen in Jacy Thomasson. She leads the team by a wide margin with 331 kills (3.9 per set) and a .386 average. Thomasson ranks second with 68 aces and has 87 blocks – more than two-thirds of her team’s total.
Haven regional stacked; Hesston leads as Kaiser clears 1,000 digs and Duerksen over 1,100 kills; Hesston/Trinity split two meetings; Trinity’s Broadie over 1,000 kills; Cheney defeats Trinity
The Haven regional might be the most stacked at the top with three ranked squads in Hesston (31-6), Trinity Academy (31-6) and Cheney (28-8). Hesston bumped up a spot in the rankings from fifth to fourth. Trinity Academy is second and Cheney stands tenth.
Hesston was the undefeated Central Kansas League champions. Overall, the Swather high school programs have tallied 99 combined victories, the most for a single season in school history. Hesston has won seven in a row. Senior Talby Duerksen, a first team all-state selection last year on the Swathers’ fourth-place state team, has enjoyed another huge year with 483 kills.
She has averaged 5.6 kills per set and hit .308. Senior Elise Kaiser, a Newman basketball commit, has delivered another impressive all-around season with 224 kills (2.6 per set). Senior Lindsey Deegan paces the Swathers with 49 blocks. Kaiser leads with 312 digs and has recently passed 1,000 career digs. She has recorded 1,030 in her career. The 6-foot Duerksen just cleared 1,100 career kills – she has 1,105 currently.
Hesston has won four in a row against Cheney, including a Sept. 10 victory this year. The Swathers defeated Trinity Academy, a state qualifier in 4A last year, on Oct. 19. However, Trinity defeated Hesston, 3-0, on Oct. 3.
Trinity has non-seniors as its top-three hitters, namely with junior Austin Broadie, an excellent player with 414 kills (5.2 per set) and a .397 hitting percentage. The 6-foot Broadie has 1,040 career kills.
On Oct. 22, Cheney defeated Trinity Academy, 2-1 (25-9, 17-25, 25-17) to win the Central Kansas League title with a 9-0 record.
Trinity had beat Cheney, 2-0, on Sept. 28 at the Cheney tournament. However, Broadie did not play in Cheney’s victory this week. Broadie did play in the 2-1 loss to Hesston on Oct. 19.
The Cardinals have long been a traditional power under coach Sara Walkup, including at least 28 victories apiece in the last five years. Junior Kylie Scheer, the reigning 3A basketball Player of the Year, leads with 194 kills and a .308 average. She also is No. 1 on the team with 215 digs.
Larson, efficient Beloit lead at Hoisington
Beloit (34-3) and TMP-Marian (31-6) have matched up in sub-state several times in recent years. No. 3 Lyons (28-9) has been one of the classification’s biggest surprises. Beloit is third and TMP is eighth in latest 3A rankings. Beloit finished third in 3A last year.
The Trojans feature Shea Larson, a school record holder. Beloit carries a .374 hitting percentage as a team. This season, she has 401 kills (five per set) and a .460 hitting percentage. Senior Hanna Pearson has 241 kills with a .456 average. They are fourth and fifth in Kansas in hitting percentage.
Beloit defeated TMP, 3-1, on Sept. 12. The teams have met up in the last nine days of October in ’11, ’15 and ’17. Beloit won the first two and TMP earned the victory in ’17.
Perry-Lecompton: Royal Valley remains No. 1 in rankings despite losses
Royal Valley (31-6) is the headliner and the favorite in the P-L regional. RV remained first in the rankings despite two losses on Oct. 19; a 2-1 loss to Smoky Valley, and a 2-0 defeat to Abilene. Junior Ivy Fink has 323 kills (five kills per set) with a .357 hitting percentage.
Nemaha Central: Sabetha 5-1 versus NC/Concordia this year
Sabetha (31-8) leads the regional, followed by Nemaha Central (24-14), and Concordia (24-15). Sabetha is sixth in the 3A poll. Sabetha is 3-1 against Nemaha Central this season, though the Oct. 1 loss was the last meeting between the schools. Sabetha is 2-0 versus Concordia in 2019.
Alma-Wabaunsee – Strait, A. Hafenstine with big seasons
Defending state runner-up Alma-Wabaunsee has been ranked No. 1 most of the season in Class 2A. Wabaunsee is the significant favorite with a 33-3 record. No other team has more than 22 victories. Wabaunsee stands second in the latest poll and flip-flopped spots with Colgan.
Senior Megan Strait has 227 kills, one of four players with at least 158 kills. Sophomore Lauren Schutter has emerged with 176 kills and a .286 hitting percentage. Sophomore Kara Hafenstine has 36 aces, while senior Alexis Hafenstine is again one of the state’s top defenders. Alexis has 30 aces against just eight service errors, along with 497 digs (6.5 per set) and 330 service returns. Alexis has just four serve-receive errors all year.
Colgan leads at Arma-Northeast; Oplotnik with 400 wins
Last year, Pittsburg Colgan entered the state tournament undefeated and finished fourth in 2A. Colgan is the heavy favorite in Northeast with a 38-2 record. The Panthers are the No. 1 ranked team in 2A and switched places with No. 2 Wabaunsee in this week’s poll.
Coach Cathy Oplotnik picked up her 400th career victory. Junior Millie Stockard is one of the state’s top players with 511 kills (5.5 per set). Junior Kaitlin Crossland has 321 kills (3.5 per set). Both hit at least .327. The Panthers have won 12 straight. Stockard has 1,083 attacks, second-most in Kansas.
Brookville-Ell Saline – VH leads, Herington’s Roe huge individual season
Valley Heights went to the state tournament last year, though finished 0-3. VH is the top seed at Ell-Saline with a 33-4 record. Herington, after a big senior class graduated last year, has enjoyed another strong fall with a 27-6 mark. Valley Heights is ranked fourth in 2A. Herington coach Lisa Beye has battled cancer this fall. The top-three Herington hitters are all non-seniors.
Junior Carrie Roe has 397 kills (5.4 per set) and a .424 hitting percentage. She has 60 percent of her team’s kills. She leads with 440 digs (6.0 digs).
Spearville leads at Elkhart
Spearville was a top Class 1A favorite before the Lancers shifted to 2A when the latest classifications were released earlier in this fall. Spearville went to state last year and earned 1A runner-up to Centralia. The Lancers are the significant favorite in the Elkhart sub-state and have the only winning record. Spearville is ranked eighth in 2A. Ehlaina Hartman has committed to Emporia State for basketball.
Leon-Bluestem features Belle Plaine, Lovesee, West Elk
One of the more intriguing sub-states comes at Leon-Bluestem. Belle Plaine (31-6) is seeded first, and West Elk (28-10) is second. WE is statistically the state’s top defense in digs per set.
Traditional power Hillsboro (19-18) is the third seed. No. 7 Leon-Bluestem is 10-21, but features standout junior Torrance Lovesee, who recently picked up a UTEP offer. BP is ranked ninth.
West Elk averages 30.4 digs per set, well ahead of second-place Frontenac at 25.4 digs per set. Junior Madelyne Koop leads the state with 666 digs.
BP has not played West Elk since 2010. The Dragons are 64-16 in the last two falls with coach Karen Wiseman. Junior Alyssa Hunter has 340 kills and 76 aces to lead the team. Belle Plaine has 276 service aces (3.3 per set).
Sterling: Can Garden Plain beat Sedgwick a second time?
Likely one of the more anticipated sub-state title matches should come between Sedgwick (36-1) and Garden Plain (27-9). These are arguably the top-two teams in 2A, especially on the west side of the state. Sedgwick is third and Garden Plain sixth in the latest 2A rankings.
However, Garden Plain is the only team to beat Sedgwick with a 2-1 victory on Sept. 5. Sedgwick won the first set, 25-21, and the Owls took the next two 25-15, 25-16.
Sedgwick features Grace Thompson, a Kansas State track commit. GP has Natasha Dooley, the reigning Class 2A volleyball player of the year. She has 264 kills (3.6 per set).
GP is the defending state champions in volleyball, girls’ basketball and girls’ track. Senior Kennedy Horacek is also on the short list for the state’s top liberos. After an all-state season last year, Horacek has 351 digs (4.8 per set).
WaKeeney-Trego: Smith Center, Ellinwood, WaKeeney, Hoxie lead strong field
Smith Center won the Mid-Continent League tournament championship last weekend and improved to 31-4 under longtime coach Nick Linn. SC is ranked fifth in 2A. The Redmen have five in a row.
No. 2 Ellinwood (31-4) is also a returning state qualifier. The Eagles finished 0-3 at state last year, though two of the defeats came via three sets.
SC has won 15 straight versus WaKeeney since ’07. The only time Smith Center and Ellinwood have matched up is a three-set Lady Red victory on Oct. 26, 2018.
The sub-state is full of star power with third-seeded WaKeeney-Trego (22-11) and fourth-seeded Hoxie (21-12). Trego features junior Lili Shubert, who is seventh in the state with a .435 hitting percentage. Hoxie has defensive specialist Addi Campbell. She has 500 digs, for 8.1 per set.
Winchester-Jefferson County North with depth
The JCN regional has No. 1 Jackson Heights (31-3), No. 2 JC North (29-8), third-seeded Oskaloosa (27-9) and fourth-seeded Maranatha Academy (19-14). Maranatha went to state last year and features one of the state’s top players in junior Addi Pelham, a commitment to NCAA Division I Lipscomb. Pelham has half her team’s kills at 468 (5.1 per set) with a .386 hitting percentage.
Jackson Heights is ranked tenth. Jackson Heights senior Kylie Dohl leads the Cobras with 243 kills. JH and Oskaloosa have split two meetings this year.
Class 1A – sub-states were seeded and placed after Tuesday’s regionals
Centralia Sub-State No. 1
No. 1 seed Rural Vista (36-4) headlines the sub-state. Rural Vista has been the No. 1 team in 1A the last several weeks. In the regional championship, Hannah Riedy had her 1,500th career assist and 1,000th career dig, and Holly Brockmeier delivered her 1,000th career kill.
Centralia Sub-state No. 2
Two-time defending state champion Centralia (32-6) is the top seed. Beloit-St. John’s/Tipton (31-8) is also in the sub-state. BSJT coach Marcy Kee has 391 career victories, and the Blujays reached the state tournament last year. Centralia is ranked second, and the Blujays are ninth.
Greensburg-Kiowa County Sub-State No. 1
Minneola (30-8) is the top seed, but No. 3 Little River (29-9) and No. 6 Attica (32-8) pose an excellent first-round matchup. LR and Attica are sixth and seventh in the respective rankings. Little River sophomore Lily Boughfman has 301 kills, while Leah Ayers has 180 kills. Three players have between 53 and 55 aces. Little River and Attica have not matched up in recent history.
Greensburg-Kiowa County Sub-State No. 2
No. 1 Cunningham (33-6) has played well as of late and has moved into the rankings. The Wildcats vaulted from eighth to fourth in the latest poll.
Ransom-Western Plains Sub-State No. 1
No. 2 Wheatland-Grinnell (31-7) reached the state tournament last year after a slight surprise upset versus an experienced Victoria team in the sub-state championship game in Ransom. W-G was first in ’15 and second in ’16 at state. No. 3 Central Plains (27-11) and No. 6 Thunder Ridge (32-6) match up in the first round.
TR took an upset loss to Logan in the regional championship. Thunder Ridge had moved from sixth to third in the rankings. TR senior Jaden Boden has 327 kills. TR and W-G have not played since 2010, and Thunder Ridge has not faced Central Plains. TR leads Kansas with 330 aces.
Ransom-Western Plains Sub-State No. 2
Golden Plains is the top seed at 31-6, but has dropped back in the rankings in the last two weeks. Logan (23-12), Victoria (21-13) and Wallace County (23-13) are part of a balanced sub-state. GP dropped from ninth to tenth in the recent poll. Golden Plains lost twice on Oct. 15, though is 7-1 since. Golden Plains defeated Logan in three sets on Sept. 3.
Rosalia-Flinthills Sub-State No. 1
Chetopa stands at 36-5, though traditional power Goessel (19-18) and Udall (24-14) stand on the other side of the bracket. Chetopa jumped two spots from eighth to tenth. Senior Samantha Blundell has 440 kills (4.9 per set) with a .441 hitting percentage.
Junior Brali Conrad has 342 kills (4.0 per set) with a .374 attacking. Third-year coach Jill Blackledge has turned around the Green Hornets with 26-9, 34-5 and 35-5 marks the last three years.
Rosalia-Flinthills Sub-State No. 2
Argonia (32-8) and Olpe (29-10) lead the sub-state. Olpe won the upset-filled Madison regional. Top-seeded Flinthills (32-5) lost to Southern Coffey County, a 10-win team, in the regional semifinals. Flinthills was ranked fifth.
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