EMPORIA — A couple of points threw the momentum off for the Goessel High School volleyball team in the state finals of the Class 2A state finals Saturday at White Auditorium.
In the semifinals, Goessel downed Valley Heights 25-23, 25-22. In the finals, Goessel fell to Heritage Christian 25-23, 25-15.
The loss ends the Bluebirds’ season at 43-1.
“The girls fought as hard as they could and that’s all I can ask of them,” Goessel coach Crysta Guhr said. “That was a very good team we lost to. We got down, but the girls never gave up and kept on fighting. This was a great season.”
Goessel fell behind 9-5 in the first set of the championship match. Goessel came back to tie the set 10-10. Tied 17-17, Goessel made a 3-0 run. After a Heritage Christian time out, Goessel extended its run by a point. The Chargers then made a 4-1 run and force a Goessel time out. The Chargers continued their run, scoring the last two points on blocks.
Goessel fell behind 5-0 in the second set. Down 20-11, Goessel finally scored on its own serve on a Heritage Christian hitting error. Goessel managed just one more point on its serve in the match.
For Heritage Christian, 36-9, 6-foot-5 junior Faith Hammontree had eight kills and a downed block. Savannah Crossland had six kills. Kate Allen had five kills. Rebecca Davis served five aces, followed by Hammontree with three.
It was the second straight Class 2A state title for the Chargers.
For Goessel, Eden Hiebert had six kills and a downed block. Leah Booten had four kills and a downed block. Brittany Hiebert had two kills and a downed block. Stephany Meyer had a kill and two downed blocks. Savanna Wuest served two aces.
“In the second set, we didn’t receive serve very well,” Eden Hiebert said. “We got down, but we kept fighting. We didn’t give up. We passed well and hit well in the first set. We passed very well in the first game (against Valley Heights). We had good passing and good setting. That gave us a lot of options.”
Eden Hiebert said she will follow in the footsteps of her older sister Page and play at Hutchinson Community College next season.
“I can’t think of a single moment that stands out,” she said. “This was my senior year and that was special. Winning state as a sophomore was great.”
Goessel struggled with errors, both hitting and serving in the first set of the semifinals against Valley Heights. Down 7-3, the Bluebirds fought back to take a 16-15 lead on a Meyer spike. Three straight Kayla Smith kills put Valley Heights up 21-18. Goessel came back with 5-0 run, three straight on Mustang errors. Goessel traded points until a Leah Booten spike ended the set.
Down 5-3 in the second set, Goessel responded with a 7-2 run. Goessel led by as many as five. Valley Heights drew within one, 18-17, but the Bluebirds replied with a 3-0 run capped by an Eden Hiebert spike. After Valley Heights’ final time out of the set, Eden Heibert put down another spike. Valley Heights got back within one, 23-22, but a Mustang error and Booten spike put the Bluebirds in the finals.
Eden Hiebert led Goessel with 13 kills and a downed block. Booten finished with nine kills and two downed blocks. Cierra Nolte downed five blocks. Brittney Hiebert had four kills.
For Valley Heights, Smith had 13 kills, followed by Emma Toerber with five, Samantha Vermetten with four and Skylar Saunders with three. DeAndra Woodyard served four aces.
“We played very well in that game,” Booten said. “In the second set, we played very well. Our passing was good and that led to good hitting. In that second set (against Heritage Christian), we got down, but we never gave up. It was tough losing that first set.”
Goessel loses four seniors, three seniors. The senior class ended their careers 172-4 with four final four state finishes, including a state title their sophomore year.
“Our seniors have put in a lot of work in their four years and have been very successful for it,” Guhr said. “They have been great leaders. We are going to have a lot of holes to fill and will need people to step up and be leaders. We will have a lot of people in new roles.”