Goessel powered its way to another appearance at the 1A Division I state tournament by winning the Peabody-Burns substate Saturday.
After a first-round bye, the Bluebirds faced Burlingame in the semifinals. Goessel’s front row of Olivia Duerksen, Eden Hiebert, and Brittney Hiebert exploded, using good sets from Savanna Wuest and Kara Burkholder to pound their way to a 25-9 win. In the second set, a barrage of points came with Burkholder serving and Duerksen and Brittney Hiebert blocking at the net as the Bluebirds breezed to the final 25-7.
Goessel faced Rural Vista for the third time this season in the finals.
Behind Eden Hiebert’s hitting and Duerksen’s blocking, the Bluebirds streaked to an 11-3 lead. Cierra Nolte connected on several kills and Leah Booton served well as Goessel coasted to a 25-11 win.
Rural Vista moved ahead of the Bluebirds early in the second set. Goessel grabbed the lead, 5-4, and went on a scoring binge, taking a 17-9 lead en route to a 25-13 win that sends the Bluebirds to state for the third time in four years.
The Bluebirds will largely ride the talents of underclassmen in their quest to repeat as champions. Olivia Duerksen, team leader in blocks, is the only senior on the team.
Eden Hiebert leads the team from the outside hitter position, while Brittney Hiebert is a commanding presence on the front row. Leah Booton is a contributor at outside hitter and in the back row. Savanna Wuest, quarterbacks the team as setter, Kara Burkholder is an aggressive server and back row player. Cierra Nolte bolsters the front row with power and height.
Goessel, 38-1, heads to Hays on a 27-game winning streak. If seeds hold, the No. 2 Bluebirds will be on a collision course to battle No. 1 Centralia, the team Goessel beat last year for the championship.