Gardner Lawrence High’s volleyball season ended with a 25-9, 25-13 loss to host Gardner-Edgerton in the first round of a Class 6A sub-state on Saturday.
“The score wasn’t indicative of their play today,” LHS coach Stephanie Magnuson said. “They played well until the end, aggressive, and I’m very proud of them.”
Gardner, the No. 2-ranked team in 6A, improved to 33-6.
“They’re an incredible team,” Magnuson said of G-E. “They’re just solid all around.”
The Lions finished 17-18.
Firebirds flat in semifinal loss
Free State High volleyball coach Nancy Hopkins tried to figure out Saturday afternoon why her team had lost, 25-18, 25-20, in the sub-state semifinals to a Blue Valley West team the Firebirds had swept in straight sets just four days earlier.
“I don’t know,” Hopkins said. “They were the same team. They had the same girls. There wasn’t anything new. We just didn’t play very well. They came to play and we didn’t, I guess.”
The loss marked not only the end of the season but also the prep careers of the team’s nine seniors — Logan Hassig, Faythe Brungardt, Katy Davis, Shelby Holmes, Molly Ryan, Bailey Harrell, Kailee Dudley, Kylie Dever and Ashley Powers. Hopkins felt badly that it had to end that way for them.
“Volleyball’s a game of momentum,” the coach said, “and we just never could get any momentum going.”
FSHS had swept BVW in straight sets, 25-17, 25-10, on Tuesday at Topeka, but at sub-state Free State (26-12) fell behind early in both sets.
“They were hitting the ball hard and we were digging them up,” Hopkins said, “we just weren’t putting them away.”
Blue Valley West (22-10) set up its defense to stop Holmes on the outside and Hopkins said the Jaguars seemed to block everything Holmes hit for awhile, which took Free State out of its comfort zone.
Playing opposite of Holmes, Harrell delivered some kills for Free State.
“Her hits were going down,” Hopkins said, “and for some reason she was able to get them through the blockers.”
Harrell’s play sparked the Firebirds in the second set but it came too late, with FSHS already in a significant hole.
Ultimately, the way Free State lost surprised Hopkins.
“When you have that many seniors,” the coach said, “you expect that experience to kind of take over and you expect them to come out ready and hungry, especially after losing to Lawrence High on Thursday. But that just didn’t happen.”