Olathe -- Free State High proved worthy of its No. 1 seed at a Class 6A sub-state volleyball tournament Saturday at Olathe North.
The Firebirds ripped host Olathe North, 15-4, 15-9, before ousting Shawnee Mission Northwest, 15-9, 15-12, to qualify for the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
"Since we were the No. 1 and we won the Sunflower League, we were expected to win," said Firebird coach Nancy Hopkins, whose Firebirds are 31-9. "On any given day, you could have a bad day and get beat. We practiced well this week and were well prepared."
Against Northwest, Free State trailed 6-0 in the second game before unleashing a 7-1 run to tie.
"I called timeout and told them, 'You play better when you're relaxed,' and, 'Start playing your game,'" Hopkins said. "I think they (the Cougars) were running out of gas."
Free State's Joyia Chadwick, Sarah Graves, Cathy Stella and Alison Lungstrum were cited for their blocking. Alexis Bliss was mentioned for her all-around play.
The Class 6A state tournament is Friday and Saturday at the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka. The 6A session begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday and concludes at 1:30 p.m.
The 6A state semis are 10 a.m. Saturday. The final is 11:30 a.m.
Free State placed fourth at state last year.