THS coach hoping to peak in time for state
It's that time of the year again for the Tonganoxie High volleyball team -- time to try to break an unpleasant streak.
It probably sounds like a broken record by now: For the past six seasons, Tonganoxie has lost in the sub-state championship match.
Sub-state is Saturday at the THS gymnasium. The magic number is three: If THS wins three matches, it will advance to the Oct. 26-27 state tournament in Salina.
The sub-state tournament is played in a single elimination format. The winner of Tonganoxie's sub-state bracket is the only team that advances to state.
"When (THS principal Jamie) Carlisle brought the fax in from the state that said we'd be hosting, the kids were hooting and hollering," THS co-coach Tiffany Parker said. "It could be a real advantage for us. If we can pack the gym in red, that will be so intimidating."
The field that will join THS will include Holton, Basehor-Linwood, Perry-Lecompton, Piper, Atchison, Hiawatha and Jefferson West.
Tonganoxie has recent history with Holton. The Wildcats defeated the Chieftains last season in the sub-state championship match in Holton's gymnasium. The two teams have already faced each other twice this season. They've split the two matches.
"We haven't been ranked all year like other teams have, but we don't buy into the ranking thing," Parker said of the Kansas Volleyball Association rankings. "It's nice and that's great, but it's really a matter of, are you going to peak at the end of the year and can you win three matches at the end of the year to get to state? We keep talking about how we're going to peak at the right time. We've been steadily improving."
Tonganoxie (24-9) appears to be peaking at the right time. The Chieftains have won 11 of their last 12 matches. The only loss came in the finals of the De Soto Spikefest against St. James Academy (Lenexa), which is currently 35-0 and ranked No. 1 in the state in Class 4A.
In the eight seniors' last regular season home match, Tonganoxie defeated Santa Fe Trail and Baldwin Thursday on Senior Night.
"To see the seniors play for the last time was hard," Parker said. "Our attitude for Senior Night was don't lose on your home court. Our girls really stepped up and made sure of that."
Tonganoxie's eight seniors are Liz Baska, Shannon Carlin, Sami Franiuk, Hannah Herrstrom, Tracie Hileman, Lindsey Himpel, Roxi Grizzle and Jessie Whitledge.
It's fair to say the happy-go-lucky group is all business when it steps on the court.
"For anyone we play, our attitude is if you're going to step on the court, I don't care what you bring," Parker said. "We're going to beat you and we're not going to be nice about it."
That was certainly the case with Baldwin. After defeating Santa Fe Trail, 25-13 and 25-19, Tonganoxie made quick work of Baldwin, 25-6 and 25-9.
"We're pushing them from being a good team to a great team," Parker said. "If you're going to be a great team, you can't just play with people. You have to put them away. Once we see a team go off balance a little bit, we really attack."
Tonganoxie finished the regular season Tuesday night at Free State, but the match continued past The Mirror's press time. Visit www.tonganoxiemirror.com today to see match results, along with specific sub-state times and opponents for Tonganoxie this weekend.
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