BHS wins BIT volleyball title
With its first-ever Baldwin Invitational Tournament trophy now in its possession, the Baldwin High School Bulldog volleyball team is well on its way, even though it's still early in the season.
The Bulldogs went unbeaten through pool play and took a pair of hard-fought victories in the semifinals and finals Saturday to grab that BIT crown. It's something coach Jill Brown has wanted.
"Before the season started, that was one of our goals -- to win that tournament," said Brown. "It's the first time we've ever won it. I think it's a good tournament with Gardner, Paola and Wellsville.
"It was big," she said. "This is our tournament, in our gym. We were very, very happy to win it."
In pool play, BHS downed Bonner Springs 25-15, 25-11; Wellsville 25-13, 25-17; and Oskaloosa 25-13, 25-18.
"I was real happy with the way we played during pool play," said Brown. "It was the third time we've played Bonner Springs and the second time we've played Wellsville. I think it would have bee easy to look past these two teams looking forward to bracket play and lose a game or a match. But, we stayed very focused throughout the day -- not losing a single game."
That carried over into bracket play, where BHS downed Osawatomie 25-12, 25-23 in the semifinals and Gardner 25-17, 25-16 in the finals.
"We hadn't seen Osawatomie and Gardner this year," she said. "Both teams have been pretty tough in years past. Gardner is always at the top of our league -- usually going undefeated in league play. Even knowing the history of both teams, we still went into the finals very confident."
In the finals, BHS was led by Emily Brown's eight kills, 10 assists and .500 hitting efficiency; Rachel Miles' five kills and .400 efficiency; Kelsey Heckathorne's four blocks; and Haydon Hubbel's four kills and .375 efficiency.
For the tournament, Brown had 29 kills, a .415 hitting efficiency, nine aces and 36 assists; Miles had 15 kills and played "great defense," according to the coach; Kari Garrison had 20 kills and 40 assists; Hubbel had 97 percent serving and 12 kills; Cheri Rowland had 11 kills; Heckathorne had eight blocks; and Katie Kurtz and Angie Bacon chipped in with "great passing," said coach Brown.
BHS won't be in action again until Sept. 23, which will be the only other home appearance on the schedule. The Bulldogs will play host to Louisburg, Prairie View and Kansas City Sumner beginning at 5 p.m.