Lady Trojans fail to make it out of pool play
The Trojan volleyball team has been a little hot and cold lately.
Last Tuesday, they beat Wichita Collegiate, the No. 1 ranked team in 3A — 25-23, 18-25, and 25-21.
Saturday in Hillsboro, the Trojans couldn’t even make it out of pool play in their own tournament.
While it was a slight fluke that Hillsboro found itself in a three-way tie in its pool, the team could only blame itself for its misfortune.
In their first match of the day, the Trojans lost the first game against Sterling was 24-26. Hillsboro was supposed to be the superior team, especially because they have won nearly four times as many games as the 6-25 Blackbears. They barely won the second game, 25-23, before finally waking up and playing like a team that was 23-6 on the year, blowing the Blackbears away 25-9.
Dakota Kaufman said that the 9 a.m. starting time and Sterling’s scrappy play affected the way the Trojans played. But the showing against Sterling was a sign of struggles to come, instead of a slow-start aberration.
Next, the Trojans lost in straight sets to Conway Springs, 18-25, and 19-25. The two games against the Cardinals were marked with mental mistakes — serves not getting over the net and balls falling in between defenders — bookended by strong spurts of hard-working play; the Trojans were still diving for balls, blocking spikes at the net, and passing well.
“I really don’t know what happened (against Conway Springs),” Hillsboro head coach Sandy Arnold said. “We didn’t play our volleyball.”
Hillsboro finished the tournament with a convincing win over third-seeded Minneapolis. The Trojans, once again, needed three sets to defeat the Lions 25-13, 21-25, and 25-17, but Hillsboro played much more aggressively.
Minneapolis, Conway Springs, and Hillsboro all had 2-1 records at the end of pool play because the Lions beat the Cardinals earlier in the day. Hillsboro was left out of the final because they had lost more games than Conway Springs.
The bright spot for Hillsboro, throughout the tournament, was Tena Loewen.
Loewen was able to use her long arms and nearly perfect timing to block several different spikes at the net. While she didn’t have a dominant offensive performance, she took advantage of her opportunities and passed well when she was in the back row.
Loewen’s game is also sure to prosper as time goes on: she is only a freshman this year.
“She’s a smart girl. She just kind of soaks up everything you tell her,” Arnold said. “When you’re naturally talented and such a coachable kid, it doesn’t totally surprise me that she has helped out as much she has.”
Last modified Oct. 21, 2009