Preps notebook: FSHS volleyball knocks off top-ranked team during strong week

photo by: Carter Gaskins

Lawrence High's Gianna Cooper (15) spikes the ball over Free State's Aubrey Duncan (11) and Haylee Kern (14) on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, at FSHS.

It is the type of win that could change the course of an entire season.

Free State’s volleyball team came through with its biggest win of the year to date with a two-set sweep over Washburn Rural (No. 1 in Class 6A) Thursday night at FSHS. The Firebirds won both sets by a score of 25-21, handing the Junior Blues their second defeat of the season.

Sophomore Aubrey Duncan led the team with 11 kills in the win, while sophomore Sawyer Thomsen tallied four blocks. Junior Madison Beeley recorded a team-high seven digs against Washburn Rural.

The victory came after FSHS earned a two-set sweep (25-17, 25-22) over Manhattan High. Now the Firebirds, who lost their first four matches to start the 2020 campaign, have appeared to hit their stride and have won four games in a row.

“It’s not about how you start, but how you finish,” Free State head coach Jayme Savage said. “This team is evolving beautifully.”

Thursday’s sweep was also a fitting way to honor seniors Grace Branson and Jani McAlister-Harms on what was considered senior night for the Firebirds.

Free State, which won a league title a year ago, is now 10-7 (7-1 Sunflower League) so far this season. The Firebirds won all four matches this past week, including a 2-0 sweep over Gardner-Edgerton (No. 8 in Class 6A) on Tuesday.

In fact, the Firebirds did not drop a single set against its four opponents this past week. It is a type of response that was especially impressive after FSHS dropped three of its seven matches during a busy stretch last week.

According to Maxpreps, Duncan has led Free State’s offensive attack this year with 126 kills in 35 total sets. Thomsen, Branson and sophomore Rylee Unruh all have at least 45 kills for the Firebirds.

Branson paces the squad with 25 aces, while Thomsen has a team-high 24 blocks on the year. Beeley and Unruh have 85 and 75 digs, respectively, to lead FSHS in that category. Unruh is also responsible for 270 assists, serving as the engine of the Free State offense.

Free State will compete in a triangular at Mill Valley on Tuesday.

Perry-Lecompton football keeps winning

Perry-Lecompton’s football team rolled to a 71-0 home win over Bishop Ward on Friday. The Kaws (No. 2 in Class 3A) are now 4-0 on the season.

It was complete dominance by Perry-Lecompton, a team that made it the Class 3A state title game a year ago. PLHS had 605 yards of total offense on 41 plays, while holding Bishop Ward to -18 yards on 42 plays.

Senior Thad Metcalfe found the end zone four times on his six rushing attempts, finishing with 125 yards on the ground. He was also 10-of-16 through the air for 164 yards and two scores. Junior Reich Rush had 151 rushing yards on six carries. Senior Hunter Hess and junior Jackson Payne both hauled in a touchdown reception.

Perry-Lecompton currently has an opening in Week 5, but is slated to play host to Osawatomie on Oct. 9.


Perry-Lecompton: 20 19 20 12 — 71

Bishop Ward: 0 0 0 0 — 0

Perry-Lecompton: Metcalfe (4): 3 run, 5 run, 69 run, 33 run. Hess (2): 29 run, 17 pass from Metcalfe. Besler: 47 run. Quinlan 56 punt return. T. Williams 8 run. Brooks 22 yd fumble return.

Elliott: 4 PAT’s. B. Robb 1 PAT

PERRY-LECOMPTON: Metcalfe 6 carries, 125 yds, 10/16 164 yds 2 TD’s. Rush 6 carries, 151 yds.

Tonganoxie football earns area win

Following its first loss of the season, Tonganoxie bounced back in a big way to net a 52-30 win over Eudora in a battle between two area teams on Friday at THS.

Senior running back Tyler Bowden carried the Chieftains (3-1), as has been the case for the first month of the season. Bowden piled up 338 yards and five scores off 33 rushing attempts. For the season, the former Free State running back already has over 1,000 yards on the ground.

THS (No. 3 in Class 4A) also had senior quarterback Blake Poje back this week after he missed the previous two games. Poje was 11-for-24 through the air for 137 yards and two scores. Senior Dallas Bond caught five balls for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Branden Martin led Tonganoxie’s defense with 16 total tackles.

Eudora is now 1-3 on the year, having lost three games in a row since its 35-6 victory over Baldwin in the season opener. The Cardinals have scored 54 total points over the last two weeks, but have given up 94 combined points over that span.

Eudora will play host to Louisburg next Friday, while Tonganoxie will welcome KC Piper to town.

Tonganoxie 14 12 23 3 — 52

Eudora 0 8 8 14 — 30

FSHS girls tennis wins home quadrangular

Free State’s girls tennis team continues to have a strong season, winning a home quadrangular on Thursday at Rock Chalk Park. All four teams competing in the event were Sunflower League squads.

The Firebirds, who went 7-5 overall, were led by their top doubles tandem of Maya Lee and Dayna Steadman in the win. The duo went 3-0 in No. 1 doubles. In No. 2 doubles, Olivia Evans and Emma Evans defeated a Mill Valley pair while recording a 1-2 clip.

In No. 1 singles, Keegan VanPelt battled through a pool that featured four potential state qualifiers and finished 1-2 on the day. Jada Fowler filled in the No. 2 singles spot for FSHS, posting a 2-1 clip in the process.

LHS boys soccer falls on road

Lawrence’s boys soccer team came up short in a 1-0 loss to Olathe South on Thursday.

The Lions gave up a score in the second half, but were never able to put the ball in the back of the net on the offensive end. LHS (4-4) has now lost four of its previous five matches after starting the year off by winning their first three matches.

Lawrence will play host to Shawnee Mission West on Tuesday.

Free State boys cross-country wins again

Free State’s boys cross-country squad flexed its muscles against some tough competition en route to winning its latest race Saturday afternoon at Washburn Rural.

The Firebirds scored 44 points to win the varsity boys competition, which was just four points more than runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas. Manhattan High was also in the mix, scoring 56 points as a team to take third.

Four different Free State runners placed inside the top-14 as individuals, including a trio of top-10 finishes. Ben Shryock led the way once again by taking fourth with a time of 15:53.9. Christopher Stone finished eighth with a mark of 16:10.4, while Jack Keathley-Helms clocked a time of 16:17.4 to take 10th as an individual.

A pair of FSHS runners ended up in the top-10 in the varsity girls race. Allison Babbitt netted ninth with a time of 20:38.5, while Delaney Rockers claimed 10th with a mark of 20:41.5. The Firebirds finished fourth out of six teams in a race that was ultimately won by host Washburn Rural.

Sunflower Showdown at T-Town

Saturday at Washburn Rural

Varsity girls team scores: 1. Washburn Rural 40; 2. Manhattan 45; 3. St. Thomas Aquinas 70; 4. Free State 80; 5. Emporia 123; 6. Junction City 159.

FSHS results: 9. Allison Babbitt, 20:38.5; 10. Delaney Rockers, 20:41.5; 16. Ella McCleary, 21:06.1; 21. Ella Marshall, 21:31.9; 24. Stella Mosier, 21:36.9; 32. Mattie Smith, 22:32.0.

Varsity boys team scores: 1. Free State 44; 2. St. Thomas Aquinas 48; 3. Manhattan 56; 4. Hayden 112; 5. Emporia 128; 6. Washburn Rural 131.

FSHS results: 4. Ben Shryock, 15:53.9; 8. Christopher Stone, 16:10.4; 10. Jack Keathley-Helms, 16:17.4; 14. Ethan Sharp, 16:31.3; 19. Brock Cordova, 16:56.6; 29. Carson Marsh, 17:35.4; 33. Blake Wohler, 17:52.1.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.