By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas - Email: Cnicholl1@gmail.com
Spearville volleyball had its remarkable winning season in girls’ athletics end Saturday at the Southern Plains Iroquois league tournament at Kiowa County. However, the Lancers accomplished a feat that only two schools – Hoxie and Central Plains – have reached in recent seasons in volleyball and girls’ basketball.
Hoxie and Central Plains have the two longest winning streaks in Kansas girls’ basketball history, both set within the last six years. Hoxie won 107 in a row, and Central Plains has currently earned 136 consecutive victories.
Last year in basketball, Spearville went 24-0 until the Class 2A Final Four. Then, the state basketball tournament was cancelled because of coronavirus concerns. The Lancers graduated several key pieces, notably Ehlaina Hartman, an Emporia State basketball signing. Hartman was the 2A Volleyball and SIK Basketball Player of the Year in 2A. Spearville had four starting seniors on volleyball in ‘19.
Spearville has continued great success again in volleyball this fall. The Lancers opened with 21 consecutive volleyball wins. Spearville started 19-0 entering the Southern Plains Iroquois tournament at Kiowa County last Saturday.
The Lancers won its first two pool play matches versus Jetmore-Hodgeman County and Montezuma-South Gray to move to 21-0. Spearville took an upset loss to eighth seed and host Kiowa County, 25-23, 25-19. It marked the first defeat in nearly a calendar year for Lancer volleyball or girls’ basketball.
The Lancers still qualified for the semifinals and beat Coldwater-South Central in two sets. In the finals, Spearville lost to Meade in two sets. Spearville stands at 23-2.
The 45 consecutive victories for volleyball and girls’ basketball over two school years is highly rare. From ’15-current, only ’15 Hoxie and ’16 Central Plains have had a longer winning streak in the two sports over two separate school years.
Impressively, Spearville showed its depth as several volleyball/basketball players don’t play both sports.
This volleyball season, starters are Taylen Stout, Tawney Krominga, Cameron Offerle, Savannah Brownlee, Elle Weber, Anna Stein and senior Alissa Heskamp at libero. Heskamp was a first team all-state libero last fall and averaged 14.3 points a game in basketball. She has 851 career basketball points.
Heskamp and junior Anna Stein (4.4 points per game) are the only top-six basketball scorers who start on volleyball in ‘20. Brownlee, a senior, was a basketball reserve.
Heskamp, Offerle at middle blocker and Weber at setter are the lone returning volleyball starters.
Offerle’s older sister is Cody. She first went to Division II power Nebraska-Kearney and then for University of St. Mary, a KCAC school. She has been back-to-back first team all-KCAC.
Andrew Kempke coached girls’ basketball last season, and volleyball coaches are Syble Thompson and Trisha Sohm. Thompson is in her tenth year. Spearville is in the Syracuse sub-state with Meade.
Last year, Spearville opened 2-2 and then tallied 33 straight victories before state. The Lancers eventually went 38-4 and earned runner-up to Wabaunsee in 2A. In ’18, Spearville earned 1A runner-up to Centralia. Spearville has qualified for state six times under Thompson.
Last season, because of COVID-19 prematurely ending basketball, five girls’ teams finished with perfect records: 6A’s Topeka High and Liberal, 3A’s Nemaha Central, Spearville and 1A’s Olpe and Central Plains. Spearville has posted the best volleyball record this season.
Central Plains is 17-7, Olpe stands at 20-4, Topeka is 6-13, Liberal 13-13 and Nemaha Central 16-8. Most notably, CP graduated Addison Crites, a first team all-state standout in both volleyball and basketball.
From ’15-19, girls’ basketball had 12 perfect seasons, three by Miege, four from Central Plains and one apiece by Hugoton, Wichita South, Hesston, Hoxie and Silver Lake, according to Kansas historian Carol Swenson. In the year after the basketball perfect season, only Hoxie and Central Plains could better Spearville’s success, according to SIK research and MaxPreps archives.
Wichita South volleyball was sub-.500 after the perfect basketball year in ’16.
In the volleyball years after Miege’s perfect basketball seasons, the Stags started 1-1, 0-1 and 0-5.
Hesston was perfect in ’15 basketball. In ’15 volleyball, the Swathers opened 12-0.
Silver Lake basketball was perfect in ’16. That fall, SL started 6-0.
Hugoton basketball was undefeated in ’17. That fall, volleyball started 5-2.
Central Plains was perfect in ’16-19. In ’16 volleyball, the Oilers opened 25-0. In ’17 and ‘18, CP started 3-0. Last year, the Oilers won its first four matches and eventually won the 1A title.
Hoxie was perfect in ’15 basketball and opened 36-0 in ’15 volleyball and entered state with a perfect record. The Indians, though, did not make it out of pool play.
This year, Spearville and Colgan were final undefeated teams in 2A. Last Wednesday, the Lancers were previously not ranked but moved into the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association poll at No. 5.
In the first 17 matches, Spearville had six three-set wins. The Lancers beat Ellinwood 25-13, 26-28, 25-19. Ellinwood is ranked sixth in 2A.
At SPIAA, Spearville fell down 20-13 to South Gray in the first set but came back to win 25-23. Heskamp delivered two digs, a kill and an assist in the 12-3 run. As well, Stein delivered three kills, Offerle had a pair of kills, and Krominga one. Then, Spearville took the second set, 25-14.
Against South Central in the tournament semifinals, Heskamp delivered 20 digs, 16 serve receptions, one ace and just one service error in a two-set match. The top diggers in Kansas average between seven and eight digs per set; Heskamp averaged 10 in the match. In the second set, Heskamp collected 11 digs. In that set, Spearville went 7-2 on points when she had a dig, according to SIK statistics off game video.
For the match, Offerle and Krominga each recorded 10 kills, and Stein delivered six.
In the Meade loss, Heskamp collected 19 serve-receives and 12 digs. Krominga, Offerle and Stein all finished with at least three kills.
**Special thanks to the Kiowa County Media Center for providing broadcasting of the SPIAA tournament during the weekend. KCMC did a great job.
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