City rivals Lawrence High and Free State play in two different sub-state volleyball brackets today at Gardner, and have two very different challenges on their hands.
The Firebirds (26-11) will be the first to take the floor at Gardner-Edgerton High, playing their sub-state semifinal match against Blue Valley West (21-10) at roughly 2 p.m., following another semifinal between Olathe East and Olathe North.
FSHS just swept BVW in straight sets, 25-17, 25-10, on Tuesday at Topeka.
“Hopefully we’re able to do the same thing,” Free State coach Nancy Hopkins said of the rematch.
With a victory, No. 1 seed O-East (31-5), ranked No. 4 in Class 6A by the Kansas Volleyball Association, likely would stand between Free State and a trip to the state tournament.
In a Sept. 27 triangular at O-East, the Hawks narrowly defeated Free State, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23.
“And we’re a better team now than we were then,” Hopkins said.
Lawrence’s semifinal match-up against host GEHS (32-6, No. 2 in 6A) is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.
The Lions (17-17), coach Stephanie Magnuson said, are ready for the challenge of facing a team of that caliber.
“We haven’t seen them yet, so the fact that we haven’t seen them yet is a positive and a negative,” Magnuson said. “We haven’t seen them, but they haven’t seen us.”
In order to score the upset, the coach said LHS will need to play today like it did Thursday in its victory over Free State.
“Then we can extend our season another week,” Magnuson said, “which is kind of cool.”