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Sports in Kansas: Statewide Volleyball Notes - 9/24/19

Colgan is off to a hot start in 2019.
By: Conor Nicholl for Sports in Kansas w/ Chet Kuplen
Sep 24, 2019

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Every week we will make notes of some notable things across the state. You can always send tips/stats/info on anything to Conor Nicholl at the following email address: cnicholl1@gmail.com


Spring Hill remains undefeated behind Book, few seniors

Spring Hill vaulted three spots from sixth to third in the Class 5A volleyball rankings released last week. At that point, the Broncos were 13-0 and then added three more wins in the last several days.

Spring Hill beat Louisburg, 25-19, 25-22, 20-25, 25-16, on Tuesday. On Thursday, SH defeated Blue Valley Southwest, 22-25, 27-25, 25-17. Then, the Broncos beat Bonner Springs, 25-12, 25-18.

Spring Hill was 3-12 in its last 15 meetings against Blue Valley Southwest, including a 2-0 loss last year. Bonner Springs is ranked sixth in 5A. Spring Hill defeated Louisburg on both Sept. 14 and 17 after 14 straight losses in the series.

MaxPreps’ statistical rankings currently has Spring Hill as the No. 2 team for all classes, only behind St. James Academy, the No. 1 team in Class 5A.

Spring Hill is coached by Erica Book (Cowhick), one of the best players in tradition-laden Washburn University volleyball history. Book graduated from Shawnee Heights in Topeka and was Kansas Class 5A Player of the Year in ’03.

She delivered 2,464 digs, still nearly 400 more than any other player in Washburn history. When she graduated, she was second all-time in the MIAA in career digs. She was Washburn’s Female Athlete of the Year as a senior.

Book has coached at Topeka Seaman, Simpson (Iowa) College, and Gardner-Edgerton. Her husband, Wes Book, was a former Emporia State basketball standout and is the Spring Hill head boys’ basketball coach. He earned MIAA Freshman of the Year honors and scored 1,267 points in his career.

Last season, Spring Hill finished 28-10 after a number of sub-.500 seasons, including 14-25, 15-23, 17-22 and 18-21 in the previous four.

Senior Cat Rexroat is planning to play college volleyball at Fort Hays. The 5-foot-9 libero/outside hitter is the only senior and has delivered 5.1 digs per set, one of the state’s top marks. Rexroat has also handled 46 percent of the opponent’s serves.

Spring Hill has also captured the Lansing tournament with a 5-0 record to move to 13-0. Before then, Spring Hill defeated Blue Valley, K.C. Piper and Topeka Hayden for an 8-0 start. As well, Spring Hill owns a Sept. 10 victory against Eudora, and ended a six-game losing streak against the Cardinals. SH opened the season with a win against Mill Valley, which is ranked sixth in Class 6A.

Spring Hill has averaged 12.9 kills per set and carries a .269 hitting percentage. SH delivers 14.8 digs and 2.6 aces per set.

The top-seven hitters are all non-seniors – many whom saw major action in ’18.

Junior 5-foot-11 outside hitter Jalyn Stevenson averages 3.6 kills per set with a .287 hitting percentage. Six-foot junior Alli Frank has 2.3 kills per set with a highly efficient .328 average.

Freshman Addie Hedrick and 6-2 sophomore Kate Frakes both deliver 2.2 kills per set. Spring Hill averages errors on just 12.1 percent of swings – down significantly from a year ago.

Stevenson and junior Mariah Hess lead the team with 23 and 22 aces, respectively, and Frank paces with 41 blocks.

Rural Vista vaults to No. 1 in 1A

Centralia has taken some rare losses after the retirement of Kimbrook Tennal and the graduation of 1A Player of the Year Madison Lueger (Nebraska track signee). Rural Vista moved from sixth in 1A to first, as Spearville dropped from first to second, and Centralia from second to third.

RV went to the Hartford tournament Saturday and defeated Burlingame, Hartford, and Southern Coffey County before a loss to Lebo. Then, RV bounced back with a victory versus Chase County and a win versus Lebo.

The 17-2 Heat has averaged 11.8 kills per set and carry a .305 hitting percentage with 22.4 digs per set.  RV is 28-8 and 35-5 in the last two seasons. Senior Holly Brockmeier, a multiple time state powerlifting champion, leads with 115 kills (3.8 per set) and hits .346.

Junior Meghan Brockmeier has 111 kills (3.2 per set) with a .409 average, third-best in Kansas. Meghan leads the team with 23 aces.

Senior Hannah Riedy has 176 digs for 5.0 per set. Riedy, a key player all four years, has 388 kills and 833 digs in her career. Holly Brockmeier has 844 kills, 697 digs and 115 blocks in her career.

Maize South stays perfect behind seniors, Jones; win Liberal tournament

Maize South remained No. 7 in Class 5A and has quickly moved from 12-0 to 19-0 in the last week. Maize South delivered Liberal, 25-16, 25-23, in the finals of the Liberal tournament.

The Mavericks have a 38-7 advantage in sets won, including three-set victories versus Goddard, Derby, Liberal, Andover, Wichita North, and Goddard Eisenhower (twice). Maize South delivers 12.5 kills per set and a .253 hitting percentage.

Senior Erica Fava has 4.2 kills per set with a .328 average, and senior McKinley Pruitt carries 3.2 kills per set and a .353 average. Senior Carly Sterneker is third with 1.8 kills per set.

Junior Laurel Jones has 1.4 kills a set and a .379 average. She has committed to Marquette, Maize South is a strong serving team with sophomore Callie Palecki and Fava leading with 34 and 33 aces, respectively. Junior Riley Kennedy leads with 3.7 digs a set. Jones paces with 372 assists, 8.7 per set.

Beloit up to No. 2 in 3A behind Larson

Coach Brandy Paul has built an impressive program with Beloit, including a 3A third-place finish a fall ago.

The Trojans have moved from third to second in the Class 3A rankings and stand at 14-1. The Trojans hold a 29-6 advantage in sets won. On Saturday, Beloit lost 2-0 to Smith Center, but defeated Thayer Central (Neb.) and Smith Center by 2-1 margins.

Beloit has been highly efficient with 13.4 kills per set and a .402 hitting percentage. The Trojans have averaged 15.2 digs per set. Senior Shea Larson has one of the most impressive stat lines in Kansas with 137 kills (5.1 per set) and a .534 hitting percentage – the top hitting percentage in the state, according to MaxPreps.

Beloit has committed errors on just 9.6 percent of swings. The top-five in blocks are all seniors: Trista Boeve, Paige Goddard, Hanna Pearson, Larson and Jessica Meier. Senior Jaimie Drum leads with 4.7 digs per set.

Sophomore Makenize Travis and Meier have167 and 164 assists, respectively. Meier and Travis were both first team all-league in ’18, while Larson was first team all-state and holds the school mark for kills. She delivered 502 kills last season.

Gardner-Edgerton with 10 straight victories

The Trailblazers opened 1-3 with losses to St. James Academy, Washburn Rural and Shawnee Mission Northwest, all coming Sept. 10 or sooner. Since then, though, G-E has not dropped a set, including a 3-0 victory against Olathe East last Thursday in the Sunflower League dual.

Coach Alex Fitzmorris-Sorn has plenty of high-level talent, including senior Morgan McIntire, a Fort Hays commit. She has delivered 134 kills (4.3 per set) and carries a .249 average. Sophomore Jaylyne Bell is second with 2.9 kills per set and also has a .249 average. Junior Kendra Wait is the reigning Kansas Gatorade Track Athlete of the Year and has committed to Creighton volleyball. She has 16 assists, second-most on the squad, two behind senior Holly Maska.

Wait and junior Jordan Boone lead with 31 and 30 blocks, respectively. Sophomore Erin Michael and Wait are 1-2 in digs at 115 and 111.

Gardner-Edgerton remained fifth in the Class 6A poll last week.

Pittsburg Colgan up to 19-1, winners of 17 straight

The Panthers entered the final day of the season undefeated, but Colgan lost twice and finished fourth in Class 2A. This season, Colgan has ranked fifth in 2A the last two weeks under longtime coach Cathy Oplotnik. Colgan has won 17 in a row after a 3-0 loss to Carthage (Mo.) on Sept. 5.

Junior Millie Stockard is one of the state’s best players with 4.9 kills per set and a .376 hitting percentage. Junior Kaitlin Crossland is second with 3.1 kills per set and a .342 hitting percentage.

Senior Malia Orender leads with 45 aces, and Crossland is second with 37 aces. Junior Grace Carson has become a top blocker with 27 blocks (25 solo) in her first year of varsity action.

Riverton into state rankings; eight wins in three days – huge freshman season from Thomasson

Riverton was unranked in the Week 1 poll and has moved to No. 10 in Class 3A. The Rams were 9-1 when the poll came out and played eight matches combined on Thursday and Saturday. The Rams stand at 17-1 with 2-0 victories against Columbus and Galena in the home quad on Sept. 19.

On Saturday, Riverton went to the Oswego tournament and defeated Arma-Northeast, Caney Valley, Columbus, Chetopa, Oswego and West Elk. The Rams won the tournament for the third straight year.

Coach Becky Lipasek has enjoyed several strong years and has turned around the program. Riverton went 36-4 and 28-11 in the last two seasons. In ’16, the Rams had just five victories before the huge turnaround for ’17. Lipasek coached in Missouri for 26 years.

Freshman Jacy Thomasson leads the team with 144 kills and a .381 hitting average. After her, the next four hitters are all seniors and returning starters: Camyrn Compton, Danielle Weaver, Zoey Mitchell and Madison Strup.

Thomasson leads with 30 aces and 42 blocks. She ranks third in digs (107), behind Compton’s 163, and Weaver’s 119. Riverton has 17.1 digs and 3.4 aces per set with a .220 hitting percentage.

Garden Plain with two three-set victories

On Thursday, Garden Plain moved to 10-1 with a pair of three-set victories against Cheney and Rose Hill. The Owls came back to defeat Cheney, 22-25, 26-24, 25-22, and then beat Rose Hill, 25-18, 26-28, 25-19.

Garden Plain is ranked third in Class 2A and the defending state titlists. Garden Plain had lost 2-0 to Cheney on Sept. 14. GP is 5-0 in three-set matches this year.

WaKeeney-Trego opens 9-3

The Golden Eagles have remained ninth in the Class 2A rankings each of the past two weeks. Junior Lili Shubert paces the Golden Eagles with 6.5 kills per set and a .475 hitting percentage, second-best in Kansas, according to MaxPreps.

WaKeeney graduated Adrienne Carr, now playing volleyball at Kansas Wesleyan, though senior Libby Frost has stepped up as a strong second option with 2.9 kills per set and a .283 average. Senior Gracie Pfannenstiel and sophomore Madison Walt are the two setters.

Central Plains wins Russell tournament

It took 11 hours of volleyball, but Claflin-Central Plains earned the Russell tournament title this weekend. The tournament also featured Minneapolis, Hoisington, Norton, Goodland, Topeka West and Larned. On Sept. 14, Central Plains lost to Ellsworth and Ellinwood before rebounding to win the tournament. Senior 5-foot-10 Addison Crites is a key player for the Oilers.

Golden Plains opens 16-1 behind Lugo, Stoll twins

Rexford-Golden Plains moved from ninth to sixth in Class 1A last week. The Bulldogs have a collective 32-5 edge in sets won. The only loss was 2-0 defeat to Wheatland-Grinnell on Sept. 14.

Then, GP defeated Northern Valley 2-0 and a quality Victoria team, 2-1, last Tuesday. Senior Mabel Lugo has 3.5 kills and a .280 hitting percentage. Junior Ashley Stoll leads with 33 aces. Her twin, Brooke, paces with 97 digs. Sophomore Kassie Miller leads with 133 assists.

Twin Valley League update

League statistician Vicki Adams reported that, after last Thursday, Valley Heights stood at 16-3, 7-0 in league play. Centralia is 9-3, 6-1. Hanover stands at 9-8, 5-2. Wetmore is 7-5, 5-2, and Clifton-Clyde is 5-2 overall, 5-2 in league play.

On Thursday, Valley Heights defeated Clifton-Clyde (25-7, 25-8), Onaga (25-3, 25-18) and Blue Valley (25-10, 25-16). Valley Heights is ranked sixth in 2A.

Junior Emma Toerber leads VH with 30 blocks, 3.4 kills per set and a .253 hitting percentage. Senior Sam Vermetten is second with 2.9 kills per set and carries a .298 average. Senior Kate Wanamaker paces with 26 aces, one ahead of Emma Toerber. Vermetten is at 118 digs, four ahead of senior Kennedy Stevenson.

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