By CONOR NICHOLL
Submit info at any time for consideration to: Cnicholl1@gmail.com (Notes will run on Wednesday of each week, so have stats, info, notes etc. sent in by Tuesday afternoon/early evening.)
2020 Volleyball Updates are presented by Nex-Tech Wireless, Seatbelts Are For Everyone (SAFE), American Implement, Craw-Kan Telephone, Rainbow Communications, Labette Bank
Statewide Volleyball Notes - 9/23/20
All rankings as of Sept. 17 from the Kansas Volleyball Association. All statistical leaderboards from MaxPreps unless otherwise noted.
Sabetha volleyball establishing culture of volleyball; off to surprising 14-0 start
Sabetha volleyball coach Abby Stueve served three seasons as an assistant coach and is in her fourth fall as head coach. In ’17, the Bluejays won just six matches. Two falls ago, Sabetha hovered around .500.
Last season, the Bluejays had three players earn all-league honors: senior Nikole Kuenzi and junior Melinna Schumann on the first team, and senior Payton Michael for honorable mention.
Sabetha, which has not made state since 1999, vaulted to 33-9, the best record in school history.
“My first couple of years, we didn’t have a whole lot of experience,” Stueve said. “And so what we have now is that culture of volleyball on the team as far as girls spending extra time in the gym, whether it be in the summer with me, whether it be on travel teams – that experience really does show, and it seems to be paying off.”
Sabetha graduated seven players off last year’s squad and returned just two starters: Schumann and junior Emily Krebs, the lone setter in the 5-1 offense. Schumann, a four-year starter, was honorable mention all-state by the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association in ’19. She has received substantial NAIA interest. Schumann is the team’s best passer and her leadership has infused the girls with confidence.
“Ball sense, true and true ball sense,” Stueve said. “She can read exactly what’s going to happen before anybody else. She can get to the ball anywhere on the court. It’s truly amazing what she brings in that sense, and then her communication about what’s going to happen with that ball. She’s just anticipates like I have never seen before. I think that’s really her gift.”
Sabetha’s new starters have included multiple players who have put in substantial time in the offseason. They mainly play with a club team in Seneca coached by Jessica Koch, the highly successful Baileyville B&B and current Nemaha Central coach. Several play club in Effingham. Koch has won more than 500 career matches.
The new group has yielded a 14-0 start that Stueve labeled “a huge surprise.” The Bluejays are ranked fifth in 3A.
“This is a group of girls that do spend that time outside of season getting experience,” Stueve said. “And so that’s what I kind of contribute a lot of it to. Is it everything? No. That’s a big part of it, in my opinion.”
Sabetha was not ranked in the 3A preseason and opened with Valley Heights, ranked No. 1 in Class 2A, in the Marysville tournament. VH returned 69 percent of its kills. Stueve’s key question was: “Are we going to play how we are supposed to play?”
“We’ve got to compete, and beat the best if we are going to be the best,” Stueve said.
Sabetha limited Valley Heights to an .065 hitting percentage in a 26-24, 25-15 victory. Valley Heights is 13-4 after Sept. 22 results.
“Good confidence builder,” Stueve said.
Senior Leah Renyer, who played well as a junior after a Bluejay was injured, stepped up with 13 kills in the victory.
Schumann delivered five kills and led with nine digs and 11 receptions. Senior Carmyn Wessel, a role player in ’19, tallied four kills. Senior Erin Deters, a 6-foot-2 middle blocker, and Wessel tied with three blocks. Junior Kendall Edelman, the new libero, chipped in with four digs.
Sophomore Mary Lukert, a versatile right side, stepped into a varsity role with three kills and two blocks.
“On any other team, she would be playing on an outside position,” Stueve said. “She is a heckuva hitter, but right now, she’s kind of filling that role on that right side really, really well for us.”
Sabetha captured the Marysville tournament with a three-set championship win versus Nemaha Central, the Bluejays’ rival and preseason seventh in 3A. Sabetha won 23-25, 25-22, 26-24. Schumann finished with 15 kills, one more than Deters.
On Tuesday, Sabetha was scheduled to have a Nemaha County Rivalry rematch with Nemaha Central, a 6-2 team that had just gotten out of COVID-19 quarantine.
Entering the match, Renyer led the team with 119 kills, eight more than Schumann. Renyer also paced with 18 aces. Deters and Wessel tied with 30 blocks. Schumann and Renyer ranked 1-2 in digs at 163 and 118. Schumann easily paced with 151 serve-receives, by far the most on the team.
“It’s always been a big rival between NC and Sabetha,” Stueve said. “It started even back when they were Nemaha Valley, and so it is always a heightened sense of game, because it is Nemaha Central and Sabetha, because that’s just been the history of the two schools.
“It’s something that as a coach I think I feel like I am always fighting, because I kind of get the mental aspect of it a little bit stronger than the girls do,” she added. “But really trying to fight that idea that you have to be mentally ready for games like that.”
As well, the Bluejays beat Big 7 rival Royal Valley twice, the defending 3A state champion, in a battle of undefeated squads on Sept. 15. RV was ranked No. 1 in 3A.
Sabetha won the first match, 25-21, 25-11 and the second, 25-23, 25-19.
The teams took roughly a 75-minute break between the matches. Sabetha took a big lead in the conference race.
Sabetha never trailed in the first match. In the first set of the second match, Stueve called a quick timeout after the Bluejays trailed 2-0 in the first set. Sabetha quickly battled back for a 3-3 tie, though trailed 11-8 before another timeout and eventually led by six.
“Just our effort,” Stueve said. “That’s something we talk about first and foremost is having effort on the court. I mean, you just never know unless you try, and that’s kind of been my mantra with them – all-out pursuit.”
Notably, last year, Sabetha lost to RV twice on Aug. 31, on Sept. 17 and Oct. 5. On Oct. 22, Sabetha defeated Royal Valley in two sets, one of just six losses for the Panthers and its standout first team all-state hitter Ivy Fink. Sabetha limited RV to a .158 average in the win.
“Confidence that it can be done, because Royal Valley has always been that elusive team for us,” Stueve said.
Fink collectively hit .372 with kills on 49 percent of swings in the five matches versus the Bluejays in ’19. This summer, Sabetha competed well against Royal Valley.
In the two wins this year, Sabetha collectively held Fink to a negative hitting percentage with 11 total kills against 12 errors. Fink had kills on just 21 percent of swings.
“We know Ivy likes to mix it up, and we really just stressed getting touches – reach and get touches, and that was kind of the big emphasis …,” Stueve said. “Reaching and then being in position. Even if we never touched Ivy, it was all about just being in position, and then it kind of played out that being in position was exactly what we needed to do.”
Smoky Valley wins two more; beats another ranked team
Smoky Valley, ranked fourth in 3A, continued to enjoy a great season and improved to 15-1 after Tuesday.
SV beat Clay Center, 30-28, 25-21 and defeated Hoisington, 25-12, 21-25, 25-16. Clay Center is ranked eighth in Class 4A. Smoky Valley has defeated multiple ranked teams, including TMP, Nickerson, Circle and Ellinwood.
Junior Abby Rose, featured this week on Faces in Kansas on SIK, led by 18 kills. Senior Addie Heitschmidt delivered 15 kills, and senior Bri Franklin had 14 kills. Senior libero Kerington Haxton delivered with nine digs, and Elyse Ramsey was a perfect 15 of 15 on serves. The Vikings collectively tallied nine aces. Rose also delivered five solo blocks.
Experienced Burlingame remains perfect in matches and sets with very low error rate
The Bearcats, ranked No. 3 in Class 1A, Division I, are 14-0 for coach Brooke Bingham, including a 2-0 win against Rural Vista, the defending state 1A runner-up. Burlingame won the match 25-16, 25-14.
Five players had between four and eight kills for Burlingame. Junior Brooke Lewis delivered eight kills and zero errors on 20 attempts. Senior Katie Shaffer and junior Daelyn Winters led with 15 and 13 assists, respectively. Burlingame was 30-0 in sets won, including a pair of 3-0 victories.
For the season, Lewis leads with 89 kills, and Winters has delivered 71 kills. Overall, Burlingame is hitting .242 and has errors on just 10.8 percent of swings. Lewis, who hits .332, has a miniscule 10 errors on 238 attacks, or 4.2 percent.
Winters also has 23 aces for a team that is serving 90 percent. Senior Jaelynn Brake and sophomore Alexandra Cook are tied with 27 blocks. Masters easily leads with 92 digs. Burlingame was 22-13 last season and returned all but one kill. Last year, the Bearcats committed errors on 15.4 percent of swings. Lewis led with 275 kills, 170 more than any other teammate.
Smith Center stays perfect with zero seniors; Linn closing in on 900 career wins
Smith Center coach Nick Linn is 897-328 in his 35th season. Linn, also the longtime highly successful Lady Red girls’ basketball coach, is fourth on the all-time list according to the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association. Washburn Rural’s Kevin Bordewick is the lone active coach with more victories.
Smith Center, unranked in the last poll, stands at 11-0 after two Mid-Continent League wins Tuesday. The Lady Red defeated Ellis, 25-14, 25-11 and Hill City, 25-12, 25-10. Smith Center won the Belleville Quad four days ago. Smith Center has zero seniors and is paced by junior libero Maggie Peterson, junior hitter Ashlyn Long and 6-foot junior middle hitter/blocker Tallon Rentschler.
Last year, Smith Center finished 34-7 with seven seniors. Rentschler had 310 kills, second-most on the squad, and Long was fourth with 128 kills.
Frontenac wins Erie tournament; ups winning streak to nine matches
Frontenac won the Erie tournament last Saturday. Frontenac beat Erie, 27-25, 25-17, and Jayhawk-Linn, 25-19, 25-12. Then, the Raiders defeated Fort Scott, 25-20, 25-23. In the semifinals, Frontenac beat Girard, 25-14, 23-25, 25-23. In the title, the Raiders beat Fort Scott, 25-17, 25-17.
On Tuesday, Frontenac swept a triangular with wins against Fredonia (25-7, 25-14) and Erie (25-15, 25-15). Frontenac has won nine in a row after an 0-2 start. Junior Heather Arnett paces the Raiders with 80 kills, 27 more than senior Reagan Hipfl. Arnett leads Frontenac with 19 aces. Sophomore Mia Brown is at 78 digs, six ahead of Arnett.
Central Plains wins Russell tournament
Central Plains, the defending 1A state champion and ranked first in Class 1A, Division II, missed the first two weeks because of COVID-19 quarantine, and won the Russell tournament with wins against Hoisington, Goodland and Russell in pool play, and a 25-17, 25-19 victory versus Norton in the championship match. It marked just Hoisington’s second loss of the year.
Spring Hill up to 12-3; Bonner Springs earns victory behind UNLV commit Keyana Cruse; achieving sizable turnaround
The Broncos, ranked in the top-25 nationally earlier this year, split a triangular last Thursday with a 2-0 win versus Blue Valley Southwest and lost in three sets to Bonner Springs in an odd match score.
Bonner Springs won 25-22, 9-25, 25-23. SH senior Jalyn Stevenson delivered 15 kills, while Bonner senior Keyana Cruse had 25 kills with a .500 hitting percentage. Defensively, senior Mariah Hess had 14 digs, while Stevenson delivered 12.
Junior Alexis Moeschler led with 14 digs, while Cruse had 10.
On Tuesday, Spring Hill swept Kansas City Piper in three sets.
Bonner Springs is 10-1 after a 23-15 mark last fall. Two years ago, the Braves finished 15-20. Cruse finished with 184 kills, second-most on the team as a sophomore. Last year, Cruse had 370 kills, hit .371 and delivered 270 digs.
Cruse was a 2021 Top 150 national player by Prep Volleyball and has committed to Nevada-Las Vegas. Cruse has delivered a huge season with 165 kills, along with a .437 average. Moeschler has 119 digs, 17 ahead of Cruse for the season high. Cruse ranks fifth in kills, one spot ahead of Bluestem’s Torrance Lovesee, a Tennessee El Paso commit.
Spring Hill is fourth in 5A, and Bonner Springs is seventh in 5A.
Rock Creek beats Wabaunsee twice on Tuesday; gives Wabaunsee first losses
On Tuesday, Rock Creek gave Wabaunsee, the defending 2A champions and ranked second in 2A, its first losses in a pair of matches. Rock Creek won the first match 25-21, 25-22 and the second 25-22, 13-25, 25-11. Wabaunsee is 13-2. In the two-set match, Rock Creek limited the Chargers to .021 hitting, and junior Lauren Schutter, a returning first team all-state player, had eight kills.
Seniors Maddy Wertzberger and Jordan Magett led with 19 and 16 digs, respectively. In the other match, Schutter delivered 15 kills. Junior Kaelyn Conrad finished with 19 digs, while Magette had 17 and Wertzberger finished with 15.
Overall, the 6-foot-2 Schutter has 151 kills (4.4 per set) and carries a .411 average. Wertzberger has 3.2 kills per set and hits .266. Schutter stands eighth in kills and first in blocks (48) in Kansas.
Riverton at 17-1 behind Jacy Thomasson; takes first loss
On Tuesday, Riverton had its first loss of the year with a three-set defeat to Girard, 25-19, 19-25, 25-14. The Rams defeated Columbus in two sets, 25-10, 25-19, after it won the Oswego tournament over the weekend. Thomasson has 193 kills with a .351 hitting average. Riverton’s three hitters and five of its top-six are freshmen or sophomores. Senior Erin Berry leads with 46 aces, seven more than Thomasson.
The 5-foot-11 Thomasson is also easily the team leader with 35 blocks, while freshman Kayla Greer has delivered 113 digs. Berry and senior setter/right side Lexi Nowlin are the team captain.
Thomasson is the state leader with 193 kills.
St. James starting to cruise with another round of Division I signees
SJA, ranked No. 2 in 5A, lost in two sets to rival St. Thomas Aquinas in the season opener, and then reeled off nine straight victories, including three-set victories versus Blue Valley North and Blue Valley West.
Seniors Olivia Lovett and Justine Bichelmeyer and freshman Ava Spachek have led the offense, and senior Ashlyn Lovett paces the defense. Ashlyn Lovett has committed to Georgia Southern, and Olivia has committed to Loyola University-Chicago. Bichelmeyer has committed to Division II power Central Missouri.
Mill Valley has won seven of eight; serving well behind big season from Ravnsborg
The Jaguars’ only losses have come against Spring Hill in the season opener, and versus St. James in a two-set loss on Sept. 9. Since then, Mill Valley has won five in a row, the last three against Olathe area teams.
That included a quality three-set victory versus Olathe West on Sept. 17. Mill Valley, which switched from the Eastern Kansas League to the Sunflower League this season, is 7-2. MV bumped to No. 10 in 6A in the last poll after not being ranked.
Olathe West won the first set 25-23, before Mill Valley captured the next two. Junior Brylee Peterson paced Mill Valley with 12 kills and a .455 hitting average. Senior libero Jaden Ravnsborg, a Kansas State commit, delivered an impressive seven aces. Overall, MV served at 94 percent with 14 aces against just four service errors. She easily paced MV with 15 digs and helped hold Olathe West to .078 hitting.
Olathe West sophomore Ava Testrake delivered seven kills. Ravnsborg and Testrake are both Top 150 national players for their respective classes. Overall, Ravsnborg has 38 aces against 12 service errors with 4.9 digs per set.
Olathe West is 4-6, though Testrake leads with 52 kills.
McPherson remains perfect with two wins in Augusta triangular
McPherson, ranked sixth in 5A, handled Augusta, 25-12 and 25-23, and then defeated El Dorado, 25-8, 25-15. The Bullpups stand at 10-0 and feature Rhian Swanson, a KU commit.
Hiawatha on 11-game winning streak
Hiawatha won their own tournament this weekend by going 6-0. The Redhawks defeated entralia, Horton, Seabury, Nemaha Central, Riverside and Jeff County North. After dropping four of their first five they've won 11 games in a row.
Marion wins Spike Fest Tournament
Marion took first at the Spike Fest Tournament this weekend by going 4-0 in the tournament with wins over Douglass, Eureka, Centre, and Lyons. Marion split with Sedgwick on Tuesday.
100 wins for Shelly Duvall
Shelly Duvall picked up her 100th career win as the head coach for Great Bend over the weekend for the Panthers.
Shubert, Trego .538
Roe, Herington .518
Pelham, Maranatha .488
Frank, Spring Hill .438
Cruse, Bonner Springs .437
Schutter, Wabaunsee .411
Rose, Smoky Valley .405
Frakes, Spring Hill .386
Lovesee, Bluestem .375
Thomasson, Riverton 193
Regier, Newton 191
Weidl, Ottawa 182
Lovesee, Bluestem 173
Cruse, Bonner Springs 165
Hunter, Belle Plaine 158
Fink, Royal Valley 153
Schutter, Wabaunsee 151
Stevenson, Spring Hill 148
Toerber, Valley Heights 145
Evans, Ottawa 440
Gardner, Spring Hill 355
Corwine, West Franklin 318
Zenner, Newton 313
Burkholder, Marion 308
Berry, Riverton 294
McKinsey, Royal Valley 290
Dodge, Liberal 287
Stearns, Andover Central 282
Unruh, Great Bend, 217
Cisneros, Liberal 200
Curtis, Winfield 182
Fisher, Olpe 181
Curry, Oskaloosa 177
Patton, Scott City 177
Weidl, Ottawa 168
Wertzberger, Wabaunsee 166
Ziolo, Tonganoxie 163
Meyers, Sedan 47
Berry, Riverton 46
Koehn, Maize 39
Thomasson, Riverton 39
Dunstan, Rock Hills 39
Raynsborg, Mill Valley 38
Miesner, Riley Co. 37
Espinoza, Cetnre 37
Woods, West Elk 37
Kulp, Riley Co. 36
Ajekwu, Lawrence 56
Schutter, Wabaunsee 48
Barilel, Marion 46
Lentz, Maize 46
Nowak, Victoria 43
Holle, Hanover 43
Vermeer, KC Christian 43
Godfrey, Maize 41
Schroeder, Victoria 39
Hurd, Perry Lecompton 38
Spring HIll .311
Bonner Springs .294
Trinity Academy .285
Rural Vista .270
Smoky Valley .268
Mill Valley .266
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