Defeat Herington, 25-12 and 25-19, and Council Grove, 25-11 and 25-12
Sophomore hitter Danae Bina said she looked up to her sister’s volleyball team. When Amanda Bina was a senior in 2007, the Trojans placed third at state.
“Placing in state is a goal for my team,” Bina said.
Bina said one of the differences between the Trojan team this year and the team Bina was on last year, a Hillsboro team that went to state, is that just winning is not good enough; the Trojans must consistently play at a high level.
Head coach Sandy Arnold and Bina were both unsatisfied with the Trojans’ effort Sept. 6 against Douglass and Hesston at Douglass. Led by Callie Serene’s 12-serve streak, including five consecutive aces, the Trojans defeated Douglass, 25-23 and 25-15. Hillsboro then defeated Hesston, 25-22 and 25-15.
“It was bad,” Bina said. “Our passing didn’t show up. We passed a lot better tonight.”
The Trojans responded on Thursday with a dominating single-game performance in the first game against Herington.
While the Trojans only won the game 25-12, Hillsboro jumped out to a 16-3 lead. The Trojans were already up 4-3 when Tena Loewen went on a 10-serve streak, featuring eight aces. Four of the aces were consecutive at the end of the sequence before her final serve hit the net on its way down.
“That was one of the funnest games,” Bina said.
Arnold said she gave Loewen the green light to unleash her jump serve and the junior hitter did not disappoint. At the end of the run, Herington players had become distraught and let some aces go by with little attempt on a pass.
“It became an intimidation factor,” Arnold said.
The Trojans finished Herington in the second game 25-19. They defeated Council Grove, 25-11 and 25-12.
“I was nervous of not knowing what to expect, playing at home, playing while the football boys are here,” Arnold said. “I was pleased with the night.”
Serving is something Bina believes gives the Trojans an edge this season. Arnold said she expects Loewen and sophomore Addie Lackey to have some kind of jump on every serve. Bina, junior Maci Schlehuber, and senior Serene all have a signal with Arnold to start jump serving. All five Trojans recorded at least one ace Thursday. Bina had eight in two matches.
Arnold said she wanted the Trojans to use their jump serves so they can use that edge against a more polished passing and serving team.
What has also helped the Trojans to their 12-1 start is the accelerated maturation of players like Bina, Lackey, and Schlehuber.
Each player has taken on a much bigger role than she had last year to start the season. They have been asked to play front row and back row and have flourished.
The change from libero last year to hitter this year was sudden for Bina. Arnold said she had Bina penciled in at libero two days before the start of the season.
“Being a libero last season, I didn’t see any front row play,” Bina said. “I love to hit.”
Bina recorded six kills combined in both matches. Bina’s emergence as a hitter on the opposite side of Loewen has forced teams to not overplay to Loewen’s side, Arnold said.
“I don’t want her off the court,” Arnold said of Bina. “For one, she’s enthusiastic. Two, she’s not going to let the ball hit the floor.”
One of the Trojans biggest tests of the season was Tuesday at home against Cheney, who is ranked in 4A. With Hillsboro being loose Thursday — talking and having fun during games — Arnold likes the mindset of her team against the Cardinals.
“I want the girls believing they can go in and win,” Arnold said. “They’re having fun and I love that. We have to keep doing what we’re doing.”
As the Trojans break from huddles they say “uncommon.”
“Common teams want the easy route,” Bina said of Hillsboro’s theme. “We have to be uncommon to get what we want.”
The Trojans first chance to prove they are a special group was Tuesday. Then they will have a rematch with Pratt, their one loss, and Kingman 5 p.m. Sept. 20 in Pratt.