Pistora, Bogard seek final shot at state volleyball appearance
Tonganoxie has finished its volleyball campaign the last five years with the same type of trophy.
The Chieftains are ready for some different hardware.
Under co-coaches Tiffany and Brandon Parker, the Chieftains have played in five consecutive substate championships, but have taken second place every year.
This season, in their last shot at a state volleyball title, seniors Ali Pistora and Rachel Bogard hope to buck the trend and help the Chieftains to a state tournament berth.
After suffering the program's first losing season under the Parkers last fall at 16-18, the Chieftains are ready to come out with a swagger -- at least Bogard is.
"Last year we came in as underdogs," Bogard said. "This year, we want to come out as top dogs."
Pistora said team members are comfortable with one another, especially after playing in summer competitions together.
"We bonded earlier," Pistora said.
Although Tonganoxie has just two seniors, it's an experienced bunch. The Chieftains lost just one player to graduation in Kalie Hileman. Tonganoxie is 46 players strong -- the program's largest since the Parkers started coaching at THS. The team has 11 juniors, 14 sophomores and 19 freshmen to complement Pistora and Bogard.
Participation is high these days for Chieftain volleyball, and so are expectations.
"We really want to go to state this year and we're going to do it, definitely," Bogard said.
Pistora was more reserved about any postseason talk.
"It's probably a long-term goal, but basically it's one game at a time," Pistora said.
The Chieftains open their season Sept. 7 with home matches against Baldwin, Bonner Springs and Atchison.