BHS volleyball third at Baldwin Invitational
The Baldwin High School volleyball team tested itself against tough competition Saturday as the host of the Baldwin Invitational Tournament.
The 10-team tournament field included the state’s second-ranked 4A Topeka-Hayden squad, Blue Valley Southwest, a 5A Gardner Edgerton team and a good 4A Andale team.
Baldwin finished pool play at 3-1 with easy victories against Wellsville (25-15, 25-12) and Osawatomie (25-10, 25-13) and a hard-fought, two-set win against Andale (29-27, 27-25).
The loss was to Gardner and ended the team’s winning streak at 11 matches and consecutive set wins at 25.
The team started strong against the Trailblazers, winning the first set 25-14. But in the second set, the Bulldogs found it difficult to sustain rallies, scoring almost all its points from side outs.
“We’re a good side out team,” Baldwin Coach Jill Brown said, adding the team won a match this season against Spring Hill when it didn’t allow the Broncos to score off their serves. “But we have to be able to score off our serve.”
The Bulldogs played better in the third set but couldn’t change the momentum, dropping the deciding set, 22-25.
With its 3-1 pool record, Baldwin advanced into the championship round of tournament play, facing the eventual champion Hayden in the semi-finals. Baldwin played well against Hayden in the first set, leading 24-21 before the Wildcats scored five straight points to claim the set. The Wildcats then breezed to a 25-13 win in the second set.
That set up a rematch against Gardner for third place. The Bulldogs found their first-set mojo from the first match in dispatching the Blazers in two sets, 25-20 and 25-17.
The difference, Brown said, was the team’s passing, which allowed the team to unleash its frontline hitters.
“We had as many kills (24) in this match as we did in the three-set match during pool play,” she said. “We also raised our hitting efficiency from .161 to .360.”
Senior Morgan Lober said the team was determined to finish third and revenge the earlier loss to Gardner. It also proved something during the first set against Hayden, she said.
“That proved we can play with anyone,” she said.
Jordan Hoffman led the Bulldogs with solid play on the front and back line, finishing the tournament with 51 kills, eight aces, three blocks and 19 digs. Alexia Stein added 39 kills, five aces and five blocks, while Lober had 29 kills and three blocks. Corey Valentine had 111 assists, four aces and 14 dig. Madeline McCrary had 39 digs and Jenna Irey 14.
Last Thursday, the Bulldogs tuned up for its the Baldwin Invitational Tournament with a home match against Tonganoxie. The team extended its winning streak to nine matches with a three-set victory against the Chieftains, 25-15, 25-6 and 25-12.
Brown said the team played well, especially off the Chieftains’ serve.
“Because of that, we were able to be aggressive attacking the ball,” she said. “As a team, we had a hitting efficiency of over .500.”
Hoffman had 16 kills and two blocks in the match. Lober chalked up 10 kills, while junior Stein had eight kills and two blocks. Valentine had 29 assists and senior McCary had 11 digs.