Play at the net

Junior Chesney Sprinkle (9) and sophomore Autumn Fitzgeralds (8) go high to attempt a block against TMP at the Abilene Quad Thursday evening.

After dropping a heart breaker match to Concordia by scores of 25-23, 25-23, the Abilene Cowgirls bounced back to knock off TMP in two sets to officially begin the 2018 season.

The win against TMP gave Abilene head coach Mike Jantz 700 wins in his career all at AHS. Jantz is beginning his 31st season with the Cowgirls.

“Kind of fun,” Jantz said afterwards. “I am glad we got it tonight and don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

Abilene opened the day with a win over Smoky Valley before dropping a heart breaker to North Central Kansas League foe Concordia. The Cowgirls struggled with passing the ball in the Concordia match but bounced back with a quality win over the defending Class 3A State Champion Monarchs, 26-24, 25-16.

“I saw some good things tonight and some things that we have to work on,” Jantz said. “I thought passing was going to be one of our forte’s this year and we really struggled at times tonight passing the ball. I think we are better than that. Those are things we’ll keep working on. We have spent a lot of time working on that so we’ll continue to do that.”

Concordia defeated Smoky Valley 25-17, 25-23 to also finish 2-1 on the day.

“The Concordia match for us was just the matter of putting ourselves in the hole in both sets,” Jantz said. “Then we would get back in it but just didn’t have enough gas to finish at the end. It was just an error here and an error there.”

In Abilene’s final set of the day, freshman Jenna Hayes served for the final nine points for the Cowgirls. Abilene has several girls getting their first opportunity to play at the varsity level or to have extended minutes in the contests.

“The young kids came in and did good for the first night out,” Jantz said. “Autumn (Fitzgeralds), Jenna and Emma (Wildman) getting their first playing time. I thought McKenna (McGivney) did well too for the first time playing a lot of varsity playing time. I am pleaded with that.”

Jantz thought all four teams were pretty even. “It was a pretty good little dual,” he said. “Smokey’s much improved. It was a good night.”

The Cowgirls travel to Marysville Tuesday for a NCKL league dual.

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