The new volleyball season got underway last week, with a number of top teams taking the floor. The rest of the ranked squads see their first action of the campaign this week.
Third-ranked Otis got its season started on Tuesday, taking a three-set win over 2A Wray. The Bulldogs allowed 12, 20, and 23 points in the sweep victory. They are off for the rest of the week.
Ranked opponents will square off inside the North Central League on Thursday, when #4 Fleming hosts #7 Briggsdale. Each team has a returning second team all-stater, with Fleming featuring sophomore Kendyl Kirkwood and Briggsdale having Kimberlyn Krise, a junior, back.
It will be Fleming’s first action of the season, but the Falcons will already have four matches under their belts, as they went 4-0 last week, including three wins in the Sedgwick County tournament. The Falcons went at least four sets in each win, one of which was a five-setter over Haxtun. Krise (54), Talia Donoho (39), and Shelby Hoffman (36) combined for 129 kills during the week. Donoho, a junior transfer from Dayspring Christian, recorded 61 assists, as did Hannah Fiscus. The Wildcats have held the head-to-head advantage over Briggsdale for more than a decade, owning a 28-0 record since 2007.
Friday has one of the biggest matches of the season on tap, with top-ranked Kit Carson hosting #2 La Veta. La Veta went 3-0 in last weekend’s John Mall tournament, not dropping a set along the way. All three opponents (John Mall, Crowley County, Center) are 2A and none scored more than 16 points in a set.
The match will feature the only two returning first team all-state performers in Class 1A, Tess Hornung from Kit Carson and Kaylee Corsentino of La Veta. Corsentino finished 11th in the state last year with 296 kills, while Hornung was 16th with 248.
Over the next few weeks, #5 Genoa-Hugo will play a number of top opponents, including a match-up with Otis on September 7th. The Pirates get things started on Friday with a home contest against Cheyenne Wells. It’s the season opener for both squads, who are each looking to improve upon last year.
Cheyenne Wells went 14-10, making it to the regional round before being eliminated. Kaci Chadwick finished in the top-10 in kills last year with 326. The Pirates reached the state tournament, finishing with an 18-9 record. They return Ryely Smartt, who ended the season in the top 15 in kills with 273.
One other key match-up on Friday features two teams that are just outside the top-10 this week, Weldon Valley and Haxtun. Weldon Valley went 4-0 in the Brush tournament last weekend, dropping just one set against Holyoke. The Warriors also earned wins over Cornerstone Christian, Estes Park, and the host Beetdiggers. Prior to their road game with the Bulldogs, the Warriors try to snap a two-game skid in the River Rivalry with 2A Wiggins on Thursday.
Haxtun struggled in its opening weekend tournament at Sedgwick County, posting a 1-2 mark. The lone win came against the hosts. The Bulldogs pushed Briggsdale to five sets, but was swept by Merino. They will also be in action on Thursday, hosting Chase County (NE).
This will be the first meeting between Weldon Valley and Haxtun since 2009. The Warriors won that contest in straight sets.