Goessel volleyball heads to 2A state
Goessel had little trouble stepping up in class as the Bluebirds punched their ticket to state by winning the 2A substate volleyball tournament Saturday in Marion.
“Tonight, it just clicked,” senior captain Eden Hiebert said. “The passes were on point, we were able to put balls down. It just felt right.”
She could have said it felt perfect, as Goessel moved its record to 39-0 and will be the top seed when state tournament play begins Friday in Emporia.
The Bluebirds began the day against Allen-Northern Heights. With Leah Booton serving, Goessel broke open a close 12-9 contest with a run to forge a 22-9 lead. The Bluebirds won the first set 25-11. Northern Heights did not have an answer for the Bluebirds attack in the second set as Goessel coasted to a 25-7 win.
Against semifinal opponent Hillsboro, the Bluebirds traded points early. Several errors by the Trojans kept the game close at 13-11. With Eden Hiebert serving two aces and Booton and Stephany Meyer hitting kills at the net, Goessel took a 19-11 lead and won the first set 25-15.
Hillsboro served aggressively in the second set and the Bluebirds struggled with making passes. The Trojans hit over Goessel blockers effectively and built a 14-8 lead, keeping the Bluebirds at bay the rest of the way for a 25-18 win in the second set. Hillsboro opened the third set with a 3-0 lead, but Goessel went on top to stay at 5-4. Audessi Unruh and Madison Smith kept balls in play as Goessel surged to a 17-8 lead and advanced to the finals with a 25-11 win.
The Bluebirds drew second-seed Olpe in the final, a team they squeaked past 25-23, 25-23 earlier in the season.
Setter Savanna Wuest often had multiple options where to set the ball as Cierra Nolte attacked from the right side for a winner and Brittney Hiebert from the middle as Goessel led 9-7. The Bluebirds forced an Olpe time-out as they surged to a 17-9 lead. Kara Burkholder served well and the Bluebirds snatched a 22-14 lead. The Eagles responded with six unanswered points to trail by two, 22-20. Goessel escaped the first set with a 25-22 win. The final game was tied 7-7 when the Bluebirds exploded for a barrage of points. Goessel’s defense got to all hits and its hitters found winners as the Bluebirds defeated the Eagles 25-8.
Senior Kara Burkholder said the team has changed since the beginning of the season.
“It is cool to see everyone grow,” she said. “The younger girls have filled different spots on this team.”
Brittney Hiebert, who along with Eden Hiebert was named to last year’s 1A Division 1 state tournament team, spelled out the formula for success at the 2A level.
“We need to play hard, play together, and bring a lot of energy,” she said. “Then win state.”
The eight-team field features last year’s champion, Heritage Christian of Olathe (31-9), seeded sixth. Second-seed Kiowa County (36-3) also makes a return trip to state.
To face either of those opponents, Goessel will have to work its way through three pool play foes Friday. An opening match against Leon-Bluestem (19-20) is at 4:30 p.m. at White Auditorium in Emporia. Matches against Meade (32-8) and Smith Center (33-8) will follow. The top two teams from the pool will advance to Saturday’s semifinal matches.
Last modified Oct. 25, 2017