Goessel's dream season ends with 2nd-place state finish
Goessel advanced to the Class 1A Division I state volleyball championship match Saturday in Hays, but finished second as Centralia handed the Bluebirds their only loss of the season.
Goessel last appeared in a state final in 1996. The Bluebirds finished fourth last year, and with no seniors on the 2013 team, had hopes of making it further this year.
The Bluebirds looked relentless at the outset against Centralia. Passing was working, serving went well, and power hits were causing the Panthers to lunge for balls they would not return.
Leading most of the first part of the game, Goessel fell behind 14-13 but quickly recovered as Olivia Duerksen and Brittney Hiebert built a wall that the Panthers could not penetrate. Hit after hit from Centralia was rejected. The Panthers looked out of balance as the Bluebirds won the set 25-17.
The second set was tied 9-9 when the Bluebirds started making uncharacteristic mistakes. Centralia rattled off 6 consecutive points, and the Panthers evened the match with a 25-15 win.
In the third game, Goessel pounced to a 4-0 lead, but Centralia tied at 8-8. Again, Goessel fell victim to mistakes as passes did not reach their mark. Panthers hitters were successful banging hits off Bluebird blocks that went sideways instead of down and Goessel searched for answers. Centralia outscored the Bluebirds 12-1 to take a 23-11 lead. Duerksen recorded another block to add to her totals for the tournament, but the Panthers ended the match 25-13 to claim the championship.
Goessel rolled through pool play Friday, handily defeating Clifton-Clyde, 25-19 and 25-5, and St. Paul, 25-9 and 25-14. Waverly was a tougher test, but Goessel prevailed 25-20 and 25-23.
Hoxie, a team that faced the Bluebirds last year, was Goessel’s opponent in the semifinal match Saturday. Hoxie got ahead in the middle of the game 14-9. Paige Hiebert led the barrage, but Duerksen tipped for a point. Trailing 13-14, the Indians took a timeout with their lead cut to 14-13. Booton served two aces to give the Bluebirds a 15-14 lead. The lead changed hands six times throughout the rest of the game. Brubaker hit a winner on a quick set from Booton to take a 23-21 lead. Senior Gentry Thiessen fired two aces for the win, 25-21.
In the second set, Goessel never trailed but had to earn nearly every point. Goessel maintained a 4- to 7-point lead most of the game, but at 23-15, the Indians scored 4 unanswered points before Goessel was able to seal their spot in the finals 25-20.
After accepting their second-place medals, head coach Crysta Guhr said, “You’ve got to beat the best in order to be the best. I expect that is what their attitude is, and that is what our attitude is. That is why we have been looking forward to this match with Centralia all season.”
Makayla King, Goessel senior server, arranged to play her senior season at Goessel after her family moved out of state.
“This team, we are family,” King said. “After the first match of the season, we knew everything was different than last year. We were more united and we knew what we were doing. This was awesome.”
Junior captain Page Hiebert reflected on the mixture of players on this year’s team.
“This was an awesome season,” Hiebert said. “It is exciting to see freshman in the lineup. We will miss the seniors, but we have great potential for next year and several years to come.”
Goessel finished its season with an overall record of 43-1. The Kansas Volleyball Association recognized Alyssa Booton, Page Hiebert, and Alicen Meysing as members of the All- Tournament Team.
Last modified Nov. 6, 2014