Holding court at home
Tonganxoie volleyball squad snags first home invite title since 1998
Talk about a long day.
The Tonganoxie High volleyball squad played eight matches at the Tonganoxie Invitational, including a heartbreaker to Manhattan in the final match of pool.
With the loss, the Chieftains were forced to play roughly 10 minutes later against Gardner-Edgerton in bracket play.
Tonganoxie basically had to play four straight matches, but in the semifinals, THS faced Eudora, a team that defeated Tonganoxie in the substate finals the last two seasons.
The possibility of payback provided a much-needed dosage of energy.
Tonganoxie dropped Eudora in two games and then made even shorter work of Manhattan in the rematch for the team's first Tonganoxie Invitational title in more than six years.
THS co-coach Brandon Parker, who with his wife, Tiffany Parker, has coached the Chieftains since 2001, ranked the tournament title high among the program's feats under their watch.
"Honestly I'd say it's probably our biggest accomplishment," Parker said. "We've had some success at substate."
The Chieftains have advanced to the substate finals the last five years, but have never made that jump to state. And then there's Eudora, the team that provided the roadblock to state the last two years.
"I'd be lying if I said they didn't want that," Parker said, referring to the rematch with Eudora.
Ali Pistora, who was named the tournament's most valuable player, concurred.
"We wanted Eudora," Pistora said. "We kind of overlooked Gardner," Pistora said. "They're a good team."
Tonganoxie opened bracket play with a hard-fought win against Gardner-Edgerton. The Chieftains claimed victory in three games, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19.
With the Manhattan match in pool play also lasting three games, Tonganoxie played six straight games heading into the Eudora match. But for a team that was spending a lot of time on the court, THS seemed fresh entering the Eudora clash.
Tracie Hileman, who also was named to the all-tournament team, said the team, occasionally during the stretch, had to rely on "scrappiness." At times, Tonganoxie appeared unable to get a volley back over the net, but an amazing save here or there and the Chieftains were in business.
And, of course, the topic at hand was Eudora.
"I know for Eudora we had a little more drive from substate from last year," Hileman said.
Tonganoxie downed Eudora, 25-20, 25-22, before meeting Manhattan again in the title match.
In the first match against the Indians, THS lost the first game, 25-23, but won the second, 25-21, to force a third game. Tonganoxie trailed by as many as eight (22-14), but roared back. Trailing 24-18, THS went on a 7-0 run, only to have Manhattan score three more points for the 27-25 win.
"Against Manhattan, we just had too many service errors," Pistora said of the first match. "We knew what we had to do the second time around."
Tonganoxie made short work of Manhattan in the finals, winning 25-14, 25-16.
THS landed three players on the all-tournament team, as libero Hannah Herrstrom joined Pistora and Hileman.
"Hannah Herrstrom's our sparkplug," Parker said.
The last time Tonganoxie won its home tournament was 1998, when Chris Herron coached the Chieftains. That year, THS defeated Olathe East in the championship. Misty Ingerson was the tournament MVP, while Ginny Adams and Sara Overbaugh also were all-tournament selections. Tonganoxie won the tourney despite losing its best hitter, Sara Poje, who dislocated her shoulder diving for a ball in the first match of tournament. THS won its home tournament 10 of the 13 years Herron coached at Tonganoxie. He now coaches at Washburn.
The current Chieftains, 20-3 after Saturday's 7-1 showing at their home invitational, played Tuesday at Basehor-Linwood and will head this Tuesday to Shawnee for matches at Mill Valley.
Bishop Ward def. Perry-Lecompton, 25-17, 25-14
Tonganoxie def. Perry-Lecompton, 25-22, 25-5
Tonganoxie def. Bishop Ward, 25-20, 25-20
Olathe East def. Bishop Ward, 20-25, 25-17, 25-12
Tonganoxie def. Olathe East, 25-23, 25-17
Tonganoxie def. Ottawa, 25-7, 25-20
Ottawa def. Bishop Ward, 25-15, 25-18
Olathe East def. Ottawa, 22-25, 25-12, 27-25
Manhattan def. Olathe East, 25-21, 30-28
Manhattan def. Ottawa, 25-11, 25-17
Ottawa def. Perry-Lecompton, 25-17, 11-25, 25-17
Manhatttan def. Perry-Lecompton, 25-18, 25-13
Manhattan def. Bishop Ward, 27-25, 22-25, 25-20
Olathe East def. Perry-Lecompton, 25-13, 25-16
Manhattan def. Tonganoxie, 25-23, 21-25, 27-25
Basehor-Linwood def. Bonner Springs, 25t-21, 25-18
Eudora def. Bonner Springs, 25-4, 25-11
Eudora def. Basehor-Linwood, 25-15, 25-22
Gardner-Edgerton def. Basehor-Linwood, 25-13, 25-16
Eudora def. Gardner-Edgerton, 25-17, 25-13
Eudora def. Great Bend, 25-16, 25-12
Great Bend def. Gardner-Edgerton, 25-22, 26-24
Piper def. Gardner-Edgerton, 25-22, 25-19
Great Bend def. Piper, 25-23, 25-21
Bonner Springs def. 25-2, 25-14
Piper def. Bonner Springs, 26-24, 25-11
Basehor-Linwood def. Piper, 26-24, 25-22
Great Bend def. Basehor, 25-23, 25-23
Gardner-Edgerton def. Bonner, 25-12, 25-11
Eudora def. Piper, 25-11, 25-13
Great Bend def. Olathe East, 25-21, 25-18
Tonganoxie def. Gardner-Edgerton, 25-23, 23-25, 25-19
Manhattan def. Great Bend, 21-25, 25-15, 25-16
Tonganoxie def. Eudora, 25-20, 25-22
Eudora def. Great Bend, 25-14, 25-14
Tonganoxie def. Manhattan, 25-14, 25-16
Marci Harshbarger, Manhattan; Nikki Snider, Eudora; Tracie Hileman, Tonganoxie; Erin Kracl, Eudora; Cialtyn Murray, Great Bend; Jamie Starling, Gardner-Edgerton; Allie Nichols, Piper; Haley Epperson, Eudora; Layne Martin, Manhattan; Caitlyn Muder, Bishop Ward.
Best defensive player