Three new faces appear in the bottom half of this week’s rankings, with one of them returning after a one-week hiatus. Briggsdale finally enters the poll at #7 after a 5-1 start and Eads checks in at #10. Weldon Valley comes back in at #9. All are chasing #1 Kit Carson and #2 Fleming, who between them collected all seven first place votes this week.
Kit Carson is one of only two squads left in 1A that has not dropped a set to date. The other is Kim/Branson, who did not receive a vote in this week’s poll. The Wildcats rolled to home sweeps of previously eighth-ranked Springfield and Cheraw last week. In the win over Springfield, Kit Carson allowed a total of 31 points and pounded down 40 kills. Tess Hornung racked up an even dozen, while Micayla Isenbart and Olivia Isenbart each recorded nine.
The main rotation only played two sets in the victory over Cheraw, and the Wildcats still held the Wolverines to just 24 points in the match. McKenzie Smith led the regulars with five kills in that contest. Kit Carson will host a struggling Granada squad on Thursday and then visit Genoa-Hugo on Friday. The Pirates received one vote in the preseason rankings, but have not been on the list since.
Fleming suffered its first loss of the season in last weekend’s Bishop Machebeuf tournament, but it did not hurt the Wildcats in the rankings. That loss came to the hosts, who would go on to finish second. Fleming bounced back to down Colorado Academy for third. Three of their four match victories in the event came against 3A opponents. The fourth was against Goodland, a 4A school in Kansas. Machebeuf and Colorado Academy both garnered votes in the 3A poll this week.
The Wildcats will do something this week that they have not done yet this season… host a match. In fact, they will be home for two. Fleming welcomes in Caliche on Tuesday, ahead of Thursday’s big North Central League clash with #7 Briggsdale. Recent history favors Fleming in both matches, as the Wildcats have won five straight and 20 of 21 against the Buffs, and they have won at least the last 24 meeting with Briggsdale. That’s at least a decade of dominance over the Falcons.
Briggsdale has had a nice run since dropping the season-opener to Union Colony Prep. The Falcons have only lost one set in their last five matches and that was to a 2A Wiggins team that enters the week at 6-1. All of this has been done without senior standout Jodel Erickson. In her absence, fellow senior Skyla Miller has stepped up to lead the team with 51 kills, and sophomore Kimberlyn Krise has added 35, giving the Falcons a good one-two punch.
The trip to Fleming on Thursday is just the beginning of a very busy weekend for Briggsdale. Friday, they pay a visit to #9 Weldon Valley. The Falcons will close out the week by hosting Caliche on Saturday. These are match-ups that have not gone well for Briggsdale in the past. They are just 2-19 against Weldon Valley in recent meetings, and 1-5 against Caliche. That one win came last year.
Weldon Valley’s return to the top-10 was almost as much because three of the teams ahead of them all struggled as it was on their own success. The Warriors downed Pawnee (3-1) last Thursday, before falling to #5 Otis in four on Friday. The match with Briggsdale is their only action this week.
Otis would use that momentum to finish second in the NJC tournament on Saturday. The Bulldogs rolled past Caliche, Akron and Heritage Christian in pool play before running into the defending 2A state champion, Dayspring Christian, in the finals. The top-ranked Eagles claimed a 3-0 sweep of the Bulldogs, taking all three sets 25-11. Otis will visit Lone Star on Tuesday and then host #8 Hi-Plains/Flagler on Friday.
Hi-Plains/Flagler had been ranked #4 last week but fell four spots despite sweeping its only match of the week. Idalia put up a good fight in the loss, scoring 21 points in two of the three sets. Kodie Niebur-Hasz continued her strong play for the Hi-Plains/Flagler co-op program, powering down 13 kills in the contest. Erin Marzolf added eight and Sydnie Santala registered seven.
The match with Otis is the only activity on the schedule this week for Hi-Plains/Flagler. Otis has dominated both programs involved in the co-op, taking 14 of the last 16 against Flagler and at least 23 straight over Hi-Plains.
Many people around the state have felt that La Veta is a top-three team this season and the voters finally agreed. The Redskins moved up three spots from #6 a week ago, thanks in part to a four-set victory over Springfield. Springfield easily won the first set in that match, 25-14, but La Veta responded to grind out the final three sets, including a 28-26 victory in the fourth.
This is a light week for the Redskins, with only one match on the slate. That is against Manzanola, who opens the week with one victory and has been swept in four straight matches. La Veta won last year’s meeting with the Bobcats in a sweep, allowing a total of 13 points.
With La Veta moving up to #3, last week’s third-ranked team, McClave, had to move down. Fortunately for the Cardinals, the slide was only one spot. The Cards had their hands full with Walsh last week, winning a very competitive four-setter over the Eagles. McClave won the contest with scores of 26-24, 30-28, 20-25, and 25-21. That was the first set they have lost this season. The Cardinals have this week off.
Holly, who’s only loss of the season came against McClave two weeks ago, climbed four spots to #6 this week. The Wildcats claimed sweeps over both Cheyenne Wells and South Baca last week. Kallie Cathcart recorded 10 kills in the win over Cheyenne Wells and came back with an even dozen against the Patriots. The junior has 75 kills on the season.
This is a big week for the Wildcats, who host Springfield on Tuesday, visit #10 Eads on Thursday, and visit Walsh on Saturday. Holly has dropped 23 of the last 24 matches against Springfield, seven of the last 10 to Eads, and 12 of 20 to Walsh. However, the Wildcats have won the last two against Eads and the last three against Walsh.
Eads is just itching to get back into the fight, as the Eagles will have had almost two weeks without action. Their last outing was a 3-0 loss to Otis on the first of the month. They allowed the Bulldogs to serve 12 aces in that match.
The match with Holly will be sandwiched by a home contest against Crowley County on Tuesday and a road trip to Cheraw on Friday. Eads has won three straight over the Chargers and four of five overall in the series. The last two against Cheraw have gone in favor of Eads, who has won 10 of the last 13 against the Wolverines.