Not a Pitt-i-ful day
Chieftains nab third with wins against Pittsburg in Ottawa
Forget Saturday morning cartoons, or even sleep.
While some high school students might be accumulating some extra winks or catching up on Pokemon, the Tonganoxie High volleyball team has been racking up wins.
Saturday tournaments usually open up with the ripe start of 8 a.m., but the Chieftains have appeared bright-eyed and ready to go the last two weeks. After taking fourth in its own tournament Oct. 28, THS finished third Saturday at the Ottawa Invitational.
The placing was a vast improvement from last season, when the Chieftains (16-6) finished the tournament 2-3.
"Overall I feel we're playing a lot better in tournaments," THS coach Tiffany Parker said.
Tonganoxie stormed through the tournaments' early matches, defeating Fort Scott (15-5, 15-9), Emporia (15-5, 15-12) and De Soto (15-3, 15-6).
After that, the Chieftains had to scrap.
In the next match, Tonganoxie dropped its first game 15-10 to Pittsburg. The Chieftains, though, climbed back with 15-8 and 15-12 victories.
Facing host school Ottawa in the quarterfinals, Tonganoxie survived the Cyclones in two games, 15-13, 15-12. THS also got past Ottawa during pool play in the Tonganoxie Invitational.
In Saturday's semifinals, however, Shawnee Mission East disposed of the Chieftains quickly. The Lancers won in two, 15-5, 15-4.
In its second consolation game in as many tournaments, Tonganoxie had to face Pittsburg once more.
The Chieftains struggled in the first game, falling behind 10-2. THS erased the deficit, but the comeback fell short and Tonganoxie lost 16-14. Again, down a game to Pittsburg, the Chieftains had to battle back. After a 15-8 win in game two, THS survived the rubber game, claiming a 15-12 win.
On another occasion during the tournament, the Chieftains won after being down big, but Parker wouldn't mind if her team got out of that habit.
"They've been doing that to me a lot this year," Parker said.
The team has provided its coach with some stressful moments, but at 16-6, the Chieftains are sitting well, thanks in large part to Saturday's 6-1 showing. Parker said some of her players stood out during the tournament, including Kelly Breuer, Laura Samuels and Christie Menhusen and Molly McAffrey. Against De Soto, McAffrey served 12 points, including five aces. Parker was also pleased with outside players Samuels and Menhusen, along with Breuer.
"Kelly has been playing well," Parker said about Breuer. "She's been consistent."
Matches Tuesday in Lansing did not make The Mirror's deadline. Results from those matches, along with Saturday's tournament in De Soto can be found in next week's edition.
Rally scoring gets low marks
Kaw Valley League schools, like many Kansas high school programs, experimented with rally scoring this year. The league designated Oct. 1 for the scoring change, a day when Tonganoxie played host to Immaculata and De Soto.
The system involves teams being awarded a point on every serve, unlike current high school scoring that awards points only for the serving team.
The different scoring is supposed to speed up the game, but at Tonganoxie's triangular, that wasn't the case. Instead of best-of-three matches, the rally scoring involved best-of-five contests.
Parker said she surveyed area coaches about the different point system, and the response wasn't favorable.
"It's just long," Parker said.
The matches began at 5:30 p.m., but didn't finish up until around 9:30 p.m.
Tonganoxie's first match consumed the most time, as THS and Immaculata went to five games. The Raiders started with a two-game lead, winning 21-12, 21-10. But Tonganoxie fought back, winning the next two games, 21-19 and 21-10. In the decisive game five, the rally scoring went to 15 points, and the Raiders prevailed, 15-13.
It was far from the Chieftains' best effort this year, Parker said, which was the first match of Senior Night for THS.
"Emotions were running high that night," Parker said.
In the last match of the night, Tonganoxie defeated Basehor-Linwood in three games, 21-18, 21-17, 21-19.
If high school does switch to the rally scoring, Parker suggested matches be done in best-of-three contests with scores up to 25.
College volleyball switched to rally scoring in recent years, using the best-of-five format to 30 points each game, except for the final game, which goes to 15.