Home tourney a success for THS
Chieftains compete with 5A, 6A schools, take fourth at invitational
After a day of taking on heavyweights, the Tonganoxie High volleyball team was spent, but still standing.
The Chieftains took a few uppercuts Saturday in the Tonganoxie Invitational, but THS lasted into the later rounds. The home squad took fourth place in a field that included 6A programs Olathe East and Manhattan and 5A teams Gardner-Edgerton and Great Bend. Manhattan placed third at state last year, while Great Bend was fourth in their class.
"I think we've opened some people's eyes," THS coach Tiffany Parker said.
Tonganoxie went 3-3 in the tournament, losing to Great Bend twice and Manhattan once.
The performance was a step in the right direction for Parker's players.
"We did awful last year," Parker said about last year's tourney. "We didn't even make it out of pool play."
Last season, THS went 2-3 and struggled against Great Bend and Manhattan. This year, Tonganoxie hung with both teams.
The Chieftains dropped their first match to Great Bend 15-7, 15-12. Tonganoxie had leads in both games, including a 12-10 advantage in game two, but couldn't get past the Panthers.
Against Manhattan in tournament play, THS again had a lead, this time 8-5, before losing the first game 15-9. In game two, the Chieftains trailed by five, but battled back, closing the gap to one at 12-11. The Indians, though responded with three straight points for the victory.
Senior Karley Bennett said the team seemed to drag some after falling to Great Bend in pool play.
"We just got tired," Bennett said. "Coach said we put everything we had into the first Great Bend game.
"We were just trying to get up."
In the next match, the tournament play opener, the Chieftains got a slow start. Taking on Bishop-Ward, the team THS defeated in last year's substate semifinals, the Chieftains trailed early, 7-3. After closing the gap, down 12-10, Bennett responded, serving five straight points to finish out game one. In the second game, Bennett again helped finish off the Cyclones.
After the loss to Manhattan in the semifinals, Tonganoxie had the anticipated rematch with Great Bend. This time, though, the Panthers took out Tonganoxie easily, 15-5 and 15-8.
After the tournament, though, Tonganoxie's record stood at 9-4 and Bennett was satisfied with where the team was.
"We didn't expect to do as well as we did," she said.
Manhattan went on to win the tournament, defeating Olathe East, 15-3, 12-15, 18-16.
Tonganoxie's Vanessa Wardy was named to the all-tournament team, while Olathe East teammates Lindsey Grey and Angela Talbott were tournament MVP and best defensive player, respectively.
The Chieftains also played against Immaculata and Basehor-Linwood on Tuesday for Senior Night, but the matches didn't meet The Mirror's deadline. Results of those matches can be found in next week's edition. On that night, Kaw Valley teams experimented with rally scoring. In that format, teams play to 30 with points being awarded on every play. With current high school rules, teams play to 15, but can only score by serving.
The Chieftains will play under the usual format again Saturday at the Ottawa Tournament. Matches begin at 8 a.m.