TOPEKA — It will be an all Johnson County semifinal in the Class 6A Kansas state volleyball tournament Saturday afternoon at the Kansas Expocentre.
By CHARLES REDFIELD
Special to The Star
In pool play Friday evening, Olathe East and Olathe Northwest dominated Pool 1, and Blue Valley and BV Northwest dominated Pool 2.
No. 1 seed and Sunflower League champion Olathe East won Pool 1, but didn’t have an easy time with the last match of the day against Olathe Northwest. The match went three games, 25-13, 17-25, 25-22.
“They are a cross-town rival and they have improved every time we have played them,” said Hawks coach Brian Martin, who singled out the play of junior libero Kelli Kalinoski and junior middle hitter Marissa Round.
The Hawks are 3-0 against the Ravens this season.
This is the Hawks’ fourth trip to the semifinals and third in a row. They were fourth in 2012.
The Ravens are in their first semifinal.
“Outside hitter Madeline Schenider played well for us,” second-year Raven coach Barry Lenth said. “(Sophomore) Setter Tess Reid had to play all the time. Our other setter, Haley Plaas suffered a concussion on Wednesday.”
In Pool 2, No. 3 overall seed BV Northwest, which was in the state tournament for the first time since the Huskies won state in 2000, won all three matches. The last was a three-game win over No. 2 overall seed Blue Valley.
The Huskies had lost three matches to the Tigers in the regular season, but won tonight, 25-19, 17-25, 25-21.
“Our middle hitter (senior) Madison Rohr did a great job of finding the corners,” Husky coach Molly Haggerty said. “She was available to the setters when we dug the ball.”
The semifinals are at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
In one semifinal, Olathe East (36-5) plays Blue Valley (30-8). The other has Olathe Northwest (33-10) against BV Northwest (34-8).
Class 5A: St. James on autopilot
As expected, undefeated St. James Academy, ranked No. 1 nationally by prepvolleyball.com, qualified Friday for Saturday’s Kansas Class 5A state volleyball semifinals at the Expocentre.
The Thunder (44-0) won in straight sets over Wichita Bishop Carroll, St. Thomas Aquinas and Mill Valley in Pool 1.
“We won, and I’m happy about that,” Thunder coach Nancy Dorsey said. “Our blocking needs to improve. We have to use our size better defensively.”
East Kansas League champion St. Thomas Aquinas (35-8) finished second in Pool 1, beating Bishop Carroll and Mill Valley, while losing for the fourth time this season to St. James. Friday’s score was 25-19, 25-15.
“We won the games we were expected to win,” Saints coach Kim Bogart said. “We were kind of flat against St. James. …
“(Junior) Shelby Jackson played lights out for us,” Bogart said. “In the last game (against Bishop Carroll) setter (senior) Erin Rheinberger connected well with middle hitter (junior) Kristen Hornung.”
Mill Valley (31-7), which made its second trip to the 5A state tournament, lost to Aquinas, but turned around and beat Bishop Carroll, 25-20, 25-21. The victory was the first ever at state for Mill Valley. The Jaguars went 0-3 in pool play in 2012.
Mill Valley gave St. James its toughest test in the day’s last match. The Jaguars lost to the Thunder, 25-20, 25-18.
In Saturday’s semifinals, St. James will play Wichita Kapaun-Mount Carmel (37-5), and Aquinas plays Andover (37-5).
Class 4A: Miege makes quarterfinals
The Bishop Miege girls are competing for the first time in the 4A state tournament and on Friday the Stags rose to the occasion at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.
After dropping from Class 5A at the beginning of the school year, where they’d won four of the last five titles, the Stags won all three matches in two sets in the first day of the Class 4A DI state volleyball tournament to advance to the semifinals on Saturday.
“We talked about how this was a whole new place for us to go to and all new schools, so it was up to us to play well on our side,” Miege head coach Gwenn Pike said.
The Stags did just that, starting their day with a 25-14, 25-21 victory against Louisburg in their first match. From there, they defeated McPherson, the defending 4A state champion, 26-14, 25-14. McPherson was eliminated from the tournament by Louisburg later in the day, opening the way for a new state champ.
“I thought they had some powerful hitters there and if you don’t get good touches on the ball after a block or get good touches there, they can do some damage with their hits,” Pike said. “We got some great digs, but we were able to attack them more often than they got us mostly because of our passing.”
In their final match of the day, Miege defeated Andover Central 25-10, 25-19. With the three victories, Miege improved to 32-10 on the season.
Piper was the only other metro area team in the 4A state tournament and the Pirates lost all three matches Friday. They fell 25-18, 25-19 to Chanute, 25-8, 25-11 to Topeka Hayden and lost in three sets to Rose Hill taking the first set 25-21, but losing the final two 25-10, 25-10. Piper finished the season 22-19.
| Kathleen Gier, email@example.com