BHS volleyball turns in top performance
Playing against the toughest competition in the state in a summer tournament proved beneficial to the Baldwin High School volleyball team over the weekend.
BHS finished third in pool play and first in the Silver bracket of the Kansas Klassic Preseason Volleyball Tournament in Topeka. The tournament attracted 30 of the top teams in the state, ranging in classifications from Class 6A to 1A.
"I was really excited about how the team played on Saturday," said BHS coach Jill Brown. "They handled running a 5-1 offense, which is something we've not done before, very well.
"This group has really worked hard in the off-season playing club ball and leagues and they are entering this season at a very high level," said Brown. "With the high school season being so short -- basically two months -- that's important."
The tournament featured 10 Class 6A schools, including six of the eight teams who went to state last year; eight Class 5A schools, including the top three finishers at state; eight Class 4A schools, including the top four finishers at state; and two of the three Class 3A and 1A teams that went to state.
In pool play to determine the next round, BHS lost to Shawnee Heights, the Class 5A state runner-up last year which went on to win the Gold bracket. BHS split with Blue Valley West and Clearwater and defeated Andover. That resulted in the third-place pool finish, which put the Bulldogs in the 12-team Silver bracket.
In that round of the tourney, BHS won the title without losing a game. The Bulldogs beat Scott Community and Holton; then topped Washburn Rural in the semifinals and Manhattan in the finals. That left BHS with a 12-4 record for the day, which included victories over three Class 6A schools.
The tournament gave BHS a good indication of what needs to be improved heading into the upcoming season. But, there were also signs that the team is already well prepared.
"Somethings you expect early in the season -- like missed serves, timing problems with hitters, miscommunication between hitters and setters -- we really didn't have problems with," said Brown.
Team members were: Angie Bacon, Emily Brown, Kari Garrison, Kelsey Heckathorne, Haydon Hubbel, Katie Kurtz, Rachel Miles and Cheri Rowland.