The Abilene Cowgirl volleyball team placed second in the Council Grove round robin tournament Saturday.
Santa Fe Trail went 6-0 on the day to win the tourney followed by Abilene at 5-1, Clearwater 4-2, Clay Center 3-3, Council Grove 2-4, Northern Heights 1-5 and Sacred Heart 0-6.
Abilene opened against a very good Santa Fe Trail team and lost in straight sets, 25-23, 25-23.
The Cowgirls came back to defeat the host team Council Grove, 25-16,25-16, Northern Heights, 25-22, 25-13, Sacred Heart, 25-18, 25-19, Clay Center, 25-18, 25-19 and Clearwater, 25-20, 25-24.
“Overall, we had a very good day at Council Grove,” coach Mike Jantz said. “The tourney had four teams ranked in the Kansas Volleyball Association rankings, so we knew that it was going to be a tough tourney.
“We played a very good match against a very good Santa Fe Trail team but came up just short at the end of both sets. Our level of play was strong and both teams played good defense and it was just a play here and there that determined the outcome.”
“We rebounded from the loss very nicely and won straight set victories against Council Grove, Northern Heights and Sacred Heart to put ourselves in position to medal with matches against ranked Clay Center and Clearwater,” Jantz said.
“Against Clay Center, our serving was strong and our passing was much improved as we were able to build leads through the sets and got a nice win against a good team,” Jantz said. “ Clearwater has one of the best hitters in the state in Brenna Vogel who has committed to play at K-State next year.
“We just had a super match to end the tourney. We won the first set 25-20 with Rae Schwarting serving up an ace on set point. In set two, we built a 10-5 lead, but Vogel rotated back to the front row and got some nice kills and was able to push Clearwater to a 21-17 lead.
“After a time out, Jessica Hayes served up some nice balls and the team was able to really stay focused and regained the lead at 24-23. After a second timeout we missed a serve that tied the score at 24. We got a great pass and set for Taylor Thompson who drilled the ball down the right side for a 25-24 lead, and the Indians hit the ball out of bounds on the next play to give us the victory.” Jantz said.
“We really grew as a team at council grove,” Jantz said. “Taylor and Courtney Geist continue to be great team leaders and played very well all day.
“Olivia Gassman had her best outing as a varsity libero and passed and dug the ball very well all day long. Claudia Hess and Ashley Collette continue to improve as middle blockers/hitters and they both came up with big plays throughout the day. Jessica Hayes continues to punish the ball and her jump serve is getting better and better.
“McKenzie Funston, Brie Murray and Rae Schwarting got their first taste of varsity-level volleyball and contributed big time to the overall success of the team.”
We are currently 23-8 and we are continuing to improve,” Jantz said. “I’m very proud of what they had been able to accomplish and really look forward to the rest of the season.”
The Cowgirls host Clay Center Thursday, which is the Pink Out Dig for a Cure Night for Breast Cancer Awareness. The team encourages spectators to wear pink and support breast cancer awareness, as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
Saturday is the Cowgirl Invitational Tournament beginning at 9 a.m. in the AHS gym.