Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

State-Ranked Volleyball Trio Battles to Standoff

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

State-Ranked Volleyball Trio Battles to Standoff

Article excerpt

There were times Thursday night at Hayden's Bueltel Activity Complex when Hayden, Shawnee Heights and Aquinas all looked like the best volleyball team on the floor.

And in the end it might not have been that big of a surprise that all three state-ranked teams ended up 1-1 on the night in the star- studded triangular.

Aquinas, top-ranked in Class 5A, opened the night with a 19-25, 25-17, 25-16 victory over Hayden, second-ranked in 4A Division I.

Shawnee Heights, third-ranked in 5A, then knocked off Aquinas in straight sets, 25-23, 25-23, before Hayden took a 25-19, 25-19 win over Shawnee Heights.

While disappointed that the Wildcats couldn't finish off the match against Aquinas, Hayden coach Jesica Farmer-Walter was thrilled that her team could close out the Wildcats' Senior Night festivities with a win against their city rival, particularly after falling behind 10-3 in the first set.

"It's Senior Night and we wanted to get both of them if we could, but Aquinas is a great team," Farmer-Walter said. "To get that first one we were so excited and it seemed like after that we just couldn't find rhythm.

"We dug ourselves a hole in that first game (against Shawnee Heights) but we fought back and never stopped fighting and I'm just really proud of the girls tonight because Shawnee Heights does a great job, too."

Hayden's Kalie Arnold, one of four seniors honored, agreed that it was important that the Wildcats bounced back from the loss to Aquinas.

"We were disappointed in ourselves because we came out strong the first game and we just kind of lost our focus," Arnold said. "But that just kind of fired us up for the Shawnee Heights game, I think.

"We just played together (against Heights)."

Shawnee Heights coach Laura Curry, whose 19-3 team had a 14- match win streak snapped by Hayden, said that all three schools will benefit from Thursday's competition.

"This is good preparation," Curry said. "I'd rather play teams this caliber and see where we need to improve and work on those areas to help prepare us for state. …

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