Senior Night rocks
Volleyball players avoid ‘valleys’ in sweep of BLHS
You could say the Tonganoxie High volleyball players enjoyed themselves on Senior Night.
Or, as senior Megan Puhr succinctly put it: “It pretty much rocked.”
The Chieftains rocked and rolled visiting Basehor-Linwood on Oct. 7, sweeping the Bobcats in a best-of-five match, 25-21, 25-14 and 25-6, in front of an excitable home crowd.
“The crowd was awesome and we just had a lot of energy and were pumped up and ready to win,” Puhr said.
Fellow senior Chrissie Jeannin said, despite an emotional setting for the seniors as they played their final home match, THS wasn’t distracted.
“It’s always high emotion coming out and it’s hard to keep it during the whole game,” Jeannin said. “Nobody wanted to lose to Basehor, especially.”
The Chieftains weren’t distracted. They were dominant. THS had some trouble with the Bobcats in the first game, which it led, 21-20, before earning a win by scoring four of the last five points. After that, however, the Chieftains cruised. They outscored BLHS, 50-20, in the final two games to earn a KVL victory.
Tonganoxie co-coach Brandon Parker said it was a good win for the Chieftains because they didn’t go through any lapses.
“Being a young team, we’ve struggled to keep momentum on our side. It’s been mountains and valleys — not hills, not even a plateau,” Parker said, noting the players avoided those valleys against the Bobcats.
The result proved to the players that the work they had been doing in practice — little things like blocking and passing — had paid off, Jeannin said.
“It’s good to have all that stuff work together,” she said, “and be able to come out and play like that.”
Parker said THS, now less than two weeks away from sub-state competition (Saturday, Oct. 25 at Eudora), is improving not just through practice, but also through playing its schedule.
“There’s just no substitute for experience,” Parker said. “You can coach all you want, you can practice, but you just really need experience to figure out how you’re going to use it. Hopefully, we’re getting that experience and starting to feel more comfortable.”
Parker was happy to see his seniors play with such ease on Senior Night.
“Colby Bennett stepped up,” Parker said of the senior, who has played in spots this season but started against BLHS and played some in the third, victory-sealing game. “She had some nice serves, did what she was supposed to do — that’s all you can ask.”
He called Puhr’s play “solid” and said she has improved more this season than any other Chieftain.
“When you’re an undersized hitter, you have to be smart, know when you’re going to go for it and when you’re going to do something else,” Parker said of Puhr. “You’ve got to have a bag of tricks.”
Jeannin, the young team’s most experienced player, has had a calming influence for THS.
“CJ (Jeannin) has been with us forever,” Parker said. “She plays a steady game and has been reliable.”
In turn, Jeannin thanked her teammates for making her job less difficult.
“It’s a lot easier when you know you can hit it or set it to somebody and they’ll get it in,” she said.
THS did just that time after time on Senior Night, which made for a rockin’ dual.
“It’s been a fun time,” Puhr said of her volleyball experience at Tonganoxie, “and I’m gonna miss it.”
Chieftains 3rd at Spikefest
Tonganoxie improved to 16-13 on the season by going 4-2 at the DeSoto Spikefest on Saturday.
The Chieftains defeated Baldwin, Basehor-Linwood, Eudora and Jefferson County North, and lost to Jeff West and St. James Academy.
Tonganoxie played on Tuesday evening at Perry-Lecompton. The Chieftains play on Thursday at Santa Fe Trail and travel to Lansing on Saturday for the Kaw Valley League Tournament.
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