Inexperience put on back burner; volleyball places second in tourney
The Chieftain volleyball team's biggest opponent this season has been its own inexperience.
Team members have made individual progress in their games all season, but the youth-heavy Chieftains finally were able to pull their strengths together at Saturday's Mill Valley Invitational.
The Chieftains went 4-2 in the tournament and took second place.
"Fundamentally, we get stronger every time we play," said coach Kelly Alexander. "I am very proud of them for sticking it out and playing hard all the way up to the end."
Following the team's opening match against Baldwin, however, Tonganoxie's prospects didn't look that good.
The Chieftains lost the match in two games, 2-15 and 10-15.
But after that, the Chieftains dominated.
Behind strong net play by juniors Andrea Korb and Aimee Eisman, Tonganoxie beat Basehor-Linwood 17-15,15-11, and Spring Hill 16-14, 14-16,15-12.
The team also played strong up front in its matches against Maranatha and DeSoto.
Tonganoxie beat Maranatha 15-13, 16-14, and the team beat DeSoto 15-4, 15-4.
In the championship match, Tonganoxie found itself matched up with Baldwin, which had handed the Chieftains their only loss of the day.
And the Chieftains came out firing, easily taking the first game, 15-5.
Tonganoxie continued its hot play early in the second game, jumping out to a 6-0 lead.
But Baldwin wasn't through. The team staged a tremendous comeback, winning the second game after scoring 15 of the next 16 points.
A re-invigorated Baldwin won the deciding game 15-7.
"The only team we lost to all day was Baldwin," Alexander said. "We just couldn't get past them."
She said the team showed a lot of defensive hustle in the game
"We picked up balls that looked way out of reach, but we still picked them up," she said. "When that happens, you know they're playing with desire."
Korb had 47 kills on the day. Eisman had 47 and was named to the all-tournament team.
The team's next game is at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Tonganoxie.