HESSTON — Hesston High School volleyball coach Jason Peters would like to celebrate his 15th season leading the Swathers with his fifth straight state final four finish.
Peters is 368-161 at Hesston and overall. He is assisted by Katie Gaston, Staci Hansen and Amy Vogt.
Hesston was 32-10 last season, finishing in a three-way tie for first in the Central Kansas League at 8-1. Hesston was fourth in the CKL pre-season tournament and won the Council Grove Invitational.
Hesston won the Class 3A sub-state tournament, stopping Cheney in two sets. After finishing 2-1 in state pool play, the Swathers lost to Silver Lake in two sets in the semifinals and Beloit in two sets in the third-place match.
“After returning to the state tournament for the fifth year in a row, placing fourth at the state tournament and returning a good core of players with varsity experience, the 2019 Swather Volleyball team has high expectations for another strong season,” Peters said. “There will be several big holes to fill after graduating six seniors from the 2018 team, and defense will be an area of focus from the start of the season. This year’s schedule will feature matches against many strong programs in the area, as the Central Kansas League should be very competitive this season and many non-league teams on our schedule are coming off of state appearances or returning top players.”
Six letterwinners return for the Swathers — Talby Duerksen (5-11, sr., OH), Elise Kaiser (5-10, sr., MH-OH), Celbi Richardson (5-8, sr., S), Emily Koehn (5-4, sr., DS), Alex Martin (5-9, jr., MH-OH) and Harley Ferralez (5-5, so., S-H).
Duerksen was a first-team Class 3A all-state and all-state tournament selection and a unanimous first-team All-CKL pick. She had 421 kills, 269 digs and 55 aces.
Kaiser was a first-team All-CKL pick. She had 469 digs, 181 kills, 31 aces, 70 downed blocks and 52 assists.
Richardson was second-team All-CKL. She had 569 assists, 40 aces and 212 digs.
Koehn had 192 digs. Martin had 40 kills, 35 blocks and 21 assists. Ferralez had 406 assists, 38 aces and 160 digs.
Other key players include Lindsey Deegan (6-0, sr., MH-RS), Olivia Lais (5-8, sr., S), Shelby Clark (5-11, sr., MH-RS) and Hailey Waltner (5-2, sr., DS).
Peters looks for Nickerson, Hoisington Smoky Valley ad Hillsboro to be among the top contenders in the CKL. Top non-league foes this season include Garden Plain, Maize South, Beloit, Rose Hill, Wichita Trinity Academy, Moundridge and Cheney.