Throughout the volleyball season, coach Brian Martin would encourage his Olathe East team with the “firsts” it could accomplish.
The Hawks became the first team in school history to win an outright Sunflower League title and the first to advance to the state tournament four consecutive years. But last Saturday came the most elite achievement of all -- the first to bring home a state championship after a three-game victory over Blue Valley Northwest in the Kansas Class 6A state final in Topeka.
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“It was an amazing experience,” Martin said. “It was fun to watch the team get better as the year went along.”
The Hawks finished the season 38-5 with an 11-0 record in league play. They became the second Olathe school to win the 6A state title, joining Olathe South and its 2005 championship.
Six straight for Thunder
For a school that has only been open eight years, St. James Academy is quickly making a name for itself in volleyball.
The Thunder capped off an undefeated season last weekend by winning the Kansas 5A volleyball state championship with a three-set victory over St. Thomas Aquinas in Topeka. It was the first time all season they had dropped a game.
The title continued an impressivee run of volleyball state championships for St. James. Not only was it the school’s second straight 5A state championship, but it the Thunder’s sixth straight state title overall.
“It’s the ideal season, and I don’t think anyone really goes into it -- I know I didn’t, and I don’t think the girls did -- expecting to be 100 percent undefeated. But I thought it was something we could accomplish,” said St. James coach Nancy Dorsey.
The Thunder finished the season with a 27-0 record, led by a pair of future Division I athletes in Arianna Person and Brianna Lewis, who are headed next season to Belmont University in Nashville.
Miege wins in 4A
After seeing a streak of four straight state championships end in the semifinals last season, the Bishop Miege volleyball team is back on top of the Kansas Class 4A Division I heap.
The Stags won the 4A Division I state championship with a three-game victory against Louisburg in the championship match.
“You always keep last year in the back of your mind, knowing that we had an outstanding team,” Miege coach Gwen Pike said. “You know how easy it is to not win and how hard it is to win -- no matter what the caliber of team you have. You never take it for granted.”
Miege finished the season 34-10 with their Kansas-best 22nd state championship. It was just the second 4A state title since 1977, with 20 Class 5A titles in between.