Volleyball squad settles for second at De Soto
Tonganoxie High volleyball co-coach Tiffany Parker wouldn't mind facing St. James again this season.
If that were to happen, that would mean both teams had advanced to state.
"I didn't mind losing to St. James because there's a good chance we will see them again," Parker said of the relatively new private school in Lenexa. "They have a good chance coming out of their substate. We have a good chance of coming out of ours."
St. James defeated Tonganoxie twice Saturday at the De Soto Spikefest tournament, once in pool play (22-25, 27-25, 25-15) and once in bracket play (14-25, 25-21, 25-21).
THS managed a rematch with St. James in the championship after Tonganoxie defeated rival Eudora in the semifinals, but the Chieftains had to settle for second. That marked the first time the team didn't come away with a tournament title this season.
"They're a good team," Parker said of St. James. "We played a little flat against them."
Currently, the school has only freshman and sophomores attending, but soon it will become a full-fledged high school.
Right now, although their roster consists of underclassmen, they will compete in Class 4A. It's possible that the school will grow to 5A or 6A once the upper classes are incorporated, but currently, the team is stocked with young players who Parker said "play on pretty high-level clubs."
The team is coached by Nancy Dorsey -- formerly Nancy Bell -- who played volleyball at Kansas. She was a teammate of Parker's at KU.
"She's always been a very competitive person," Parker said. "I knew she'd have them ready to go."
Tonganoxie, meanwhile, played well against Eudora, which has become one of Tonganoxie's major rivals, in the semifinals. Parker hopes the team can maintain that intensity with squads that don't have that same history.
"We just haven't seemed to develop that rivalry yet with St. James," Parker said.
Tonganoxie defeated Eudora, 25-22, 25-18, in the semifinals. THS also defeated Spring Hill (25-10, 25-23) and Osawatomie (25-14, 25-21) in the tournament.
Although an all-tournament team wasn't announced for the De Soto Spikefest, Parker said she had plenty of players who performed well Saturday.
"We had some kids who played really well for us," Parker said. "I thought Sam Franiuk played very well. I thought Hannah (Herrstrom) played very well for us.
"She's a constant supplier of energy for our team. She's starting to take on more of a leadership role for us when needed."
Tonganoxie, 26-6 after Saturday's tournament, was ranked No. 3 in last week's Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association rankings. St. James was No. 5.
This week, Tonganoxie had another state-ranked opponent in defending state champion Santa Fe Trail. The Chargers are ranked No. 2 in the state. The two squads played Tuesday at Bishop Ward in Kansas City, Kan. Wins against Bishop Ward and SFT would have forged a tie for first in the Kaw Valley League between THS and SFT.
Although the matches didn't meet The Mirror's Tuesday deadline, fans may log on today to www.tonganoxiemirror.com for results from those matches.
Here are top performers in several categories from Saturday's tournament:
- Kills: Ali Pistora 50, Sami Franiuk 45, Tracie Hileman 25.
- Blocks: Pistora 21, Liz Baska 10, Shannon Carlin 10.
- Assists: Rachel Bogard 59, Chrissie Jeannin 40, Pistora 24.
- Aces: Jeannin 11, Franiuk 10, Pistora.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, several THS players also are among area leaders in key areas.
For the season, Pistora is No. 3 in kills with 217, while Franiuk is No. 4 with 189 and Hileman No. 5 with 130.
In aces, Franiuk is the area leader with 59, while Pistora is second with 302 and Hileman fifth with 32. In assists, Rachel Bogard is third with 275, Jeannin fourth with 167 and Pistora fifth with 162.
And in blocks, Pistora leads area schools with 111, while Carlin is No. 2 with 66 and Hileman fourth with 46.