Preps notebook: Backup setter crucial during Lawrence’s state title run

The Lions celebrate during the second set of the championship match against Blue Valley Saturday at Tony's Pizza Events Center in Salina.

Lawrence High senior Cortney Hanna made her state tournament debut during the second set of the team’s championship match with Blue Valley.

It was not an easy spot to jump into, but one Hanna handled nonetheless. Hanna slid right into the server spot, and helped LHS stretch its lead to double digits during a decisive set. The Lions eventually claimed the second and third set of a three-set win in late October during the 6A state tournament.

Hanna’s efforts helped Lawrence capture the program’s first state title since 1995.

“Cortney is fantastic,” LHS head coach Stephanie Scarbrough said. “She has been so amazing all year. She was our second setter. When we needed her, she came in and did such a great job and was so composed.”

But Hanna’s ability to help her teammates at a moment’s notice is nothing new.

Hanna’s contributions this fall extended well beyond her impact on the court during the team’s 38-2 campaign. Hanna, who was a part of a talented nine-person senior class, played 34 of the team’s 90 sets in 2018.

Yet her presence was felt, as she embraced a crucial role throughout the year. Hanna carried a backpack full of important items, which proved prudent at different points of the season.

“I just learned it from my mom, she always had everything,” Hanna said.

LHS senior Cortney Hanna serves during the second set of the state championship match with Blue Valley on Saturday, Oct. 27 at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina. Hanna helped the Lions capture their first state title since 1995.

In the first match of the season, senior Laura Willoughby was tying her shoe and the lace snapped in half. Willoughby turned to her mom to see if she had a shoelace. To everyone’s surprise, Hanna then pulled a spare shoelace out of her bag.

The only time Hanna didn’t have an item in her bag was when a teammate needed Tums earlier in the season. Hanna, of course, made sure to pack a bottle of Tums for the remainder of the year.

“Cortney is so important to this team,” senior Sammy Williams said. “She doesn’t necessarily always see the floor, but she has made a big difference when she has come in.”

For the season, Hanna finished with 34 assists, 30 digs and nine aces for the Lions.

“I love playing with Cortney,” senior Baylee Unruh said. “Her tenacity on the team is just awesome. She just has great energy.”

Hanna, who has been playing volleyball since she was 10 years old, will happily embrace a similar role at the next level.

She has already signed her national letter of intent to play collegiate volleyball at Kansas Wesleyan. Hanna’s coaches actually attended the 6A state tournament at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina to see her in action.

But Hanna won’t forget her final season with LHS anytime soon, particularly that final weekend.

“A lot of these girls are going to different colleges, so this was our last hoorah,” Hanna said.

City flavor in all-star match

The Mo-Kan senior all-star volleyball match will feature plenty of local names.

A trio of Lawrence High players made the list after winning the 6A state title with a 38-2 overall record. Lauren Maceli, Sammy Williams and Laura Willoughby all made the team after impressive campaigns.

Maceli paced the Lions with 423 digs, which was an average of 4.7 digs per set. Willoughby tallied a team-high 884 assists, posting an average of 9.8 assists per set. Williams finished with 259 kills in 90 sets on a .368 hitting percentage.

Free State’s Rachel Hickman, who is committed to play volleyball at the University of Kansas, also made the team after posting 304 kills in 90 total sets. Meanwhile, LHS head coach Stephanie Scarbrough will be the coach of the Kansas team.

The match will take place on Sunday, Nov. 18, at Avila University.


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