HAVEN — A pair of Harvey County teams finished in the top four Saturday at the Central Kansas League pre-season tournament in Haven.
Hesston finished second in the tourney at 5-1. Halstead finished fourth at 3-3.
Hesston swept pool play, beating Lyons 25-10, 25-18; Halstead 25-9, 25-11; and Hillsboro 25-6, 25-12.
Hesston topped Hoisington in the quarterfinals 25-9, 25-11.
“With several key players returning players from last season’s team, we had high expectations for our first tournament, but with half of our group playing at the varsity level for the first time, we knew it would take some time to adjust as well,” Hesston coach Jason Peters said. “We won our first four matches fairly comfortably, hitting and serving well, and passing well enough to keep our offense in system a large part of the time.”
Hesston downed Nickerson in the semifinals 13-25, 25-22, 25-22.
“In the semifinals, we were matched up with a very good Nickerson team that returned almost everyone from last year’s group which placed third at the 4A Division II State Tournament, plus a tall middle hitter that transferred in this year,” Peters said. “We did not pass well on serve receive in the first set and could never get any momentum, falling behind early. In the second set, we improved our passing and were able to get a four-point lead early that we were able to build on and maintain the rest of the way. The third set was a good battle throughout, with Nickerson
building a three-point lead at 10-7 and holding onto it up through the point where they led 19-16. At that point, we went on a three-point run to tie up the set, and were able to side-out their next three servers while scoring a point on each of ours to pick up a great early-season win.”
Hesston fell to Kingman in the finals 25-16, 25-17.
“After an exhausting semifinal with Nickerson, we seemed to be a step slow against a strong Kingman team that played very well,” Peters said. “They have solid hitters at every position and strong passers. They didn’t allow us a single ace during the match, and continued to attack and keep us off-balance. We never got a chance to get going in the first set, but played even with them halfway through the second set until they went on several runs that we were not able to match.”
Kailey Jo Ince led Hesston on attack with 65 kills (5.0 per set), followed by Mia Loganbill with 29 and Talby Duerksen with 21. Duerksen served 10 aces, followed by Loganbill with nine. Duerksen downed 15 blocks, followed by Alaina Dunlavy with seven. Ince had 33 digs, followed by Dunlavy with 26. Dunlavy set 123 assists (9.5 per set).
“This tournament was a good start to our season, and it was good to see our inexperienced players able to step up and compete well at the varsity level. We have a good idea of the things we now need to focus on in the coming weeks, with several non-league matches coming up this week to help us gain more experience and confidence before our regular-season league schedule starts on Sept. 5.”
Hesston plays today at Conway Springs with Moundridge. Hesston hosts Hutchinson Trinity and Minneapolis Thursday.
Halstead went 2-1 in pool play. The Dragons downed Hillsboro 25-23, 25-20; lost to Hesston; and beat Lyons 22-25, 25-11, 26-24. In the quarterfinals, Halstead downed Larned 25-16, 25-15. In the semifinals, Halstead fell to Kingman 25-15, 25-20. In the third-place match, Halstead fell to Kingman 25-21, 25-16.
Halstead stats were not available.
Halstead plays today at St. John-Hudson with Burrton.
Central Kansas League
Saturday at Haven
Kingman def. Pratt 25-14, 25-10
Kingman def. Haven 25-12, 25-10
Pratt def. Haven 25-20, 25-18
Halstead def. Hillsboro 25-23, 25-20
Hesston def. Lyons 25-10, 25-18
Hesston def. Halstead 25-9, 25-11
Hillsboro def. Lyons 25-23, 28-26
Hesston def. Hillsboro 25-6, 25-12
Halstead def. Lyons 22-25, 25-11, 26-24
Nickerson def. Smoky Valley 25-11, 25-21
Nickerson def. Larned, 25-11 25-17
Hoisington def. Smoky Valley 25-17, 25-19
Larned def. Hoisington 25-15, 25-18
Smoky Valley def. Larned 25-12, 25-23
Nickerson def. Hoisington 25-5, 25-13
Consolation Round Robin
Haven def. Smoky Valley 26-24, 25-18
Lyons def. Smoky Valley 23-25, 25-22, 25-16
Lyons def. Haven, 25-19 25-20
Kingman def. Hillsboro 25-11, 26-24
Halstead def. Larned 25-16, 25-15
Nickerson def. Pratt 25-15, 25-18
Hesston def. Hoisington 25-9, 25-11
Larned def. Hillsboro25-23, 25-20
Pratt def. Hoisington 26-24, 25-15
Kingman def. Halstead 25-15, 25-20
Hesston def. Nickerson 13-25, 25-22, 25-22
Championship: Kingman def. Hesston 25-16, 25-17
Third place: Nickerson def. Halstead 25-21, 25-16
Fifth Place: Pratt def. Larned 25-23, 25-13
Seventh Place: Hillsboro def. Hoisington 25-17, 25-22