By William for

(Photo used by permission from Jenica Rose)


GYPSUM – Competing in an eight-team invitational that featured high quality teams on Saturday proved to be no problem for the Smoky Valley volleyball team as they played all the way to the championship match only to lose to Beloit and finish second for the day’s work.

Among the teams participating were Salina South, Beloit, Concordia, Abilene, Circle, Hillsboro, host Southeast of Saline and of course the Lady Vikings.

Smoky Valley opened up the day with a hard fought, three set match with Beloit which the Lady Vikings won set one (25-20) before dropping both of the final two sets (20-25, 24-26), not knowing at the time that they would meet up again later in the afternoon.

In their second match of the day, the Lady Vikings once again had to go three sets before taking down Concordia (25-22, 22-25, 25-16), before finishing out pool play with a straight set victory against Salina South (25-15, 25-13).

Beloit and Smoky Valley earned their way into bracket play as did Hillsboro and Circle who finished first and second in their pool.

While Beloit handled Circle in their bracket match, the Lady Vikings made quick work of Hillsboro (25-14, 25-14) to set up a rematch with Beloit in the Invitational Championship game.

With that first set of the day being Beloit’s only loss of the day, the Lady Vikings were hoping to take them down once again only to suffer a loss in straight sets (15-25, 23-25) to finish second for the day.

Among the team leaders for Smoky Valley on the day were Abby Rose who dominated the hitting attack by completing 40 kills, while Bri Franklin and Addie Heitschmidt recorded 24 and 21 kills as well.

Several Lady Vikings had big days on the serving line with Elyse Ramsey leading the team in serves with 54 successful serves which included 16 aces and no errors. McKinley Johnson also had another great day as she also had 54 successful serves, including six ace serves. Smoky Valley also found strong contributorship from Kerington Haxton as she served up 47 successful serves.

Ramsey and Johnson also prepped the Lady Viking hitters by each serving out 43 assists for the day.

When it came to blocking, Franklin completed five solo with eight assisted, while Abby Rose had three solo and seven assisted. Belle Peters and Madi Tolle each contributed six and five assisted blocks respectively.

Heitschmidt and Rose were the Smoky Valley leaders on the defensive side of the court with 17 and 16 reported digs each, while Kerington Haxton scored 36 completed passes on serve receive. Others have strong days with completed passes were Rose with 33 while Heitschmidt and Avery VanDerWege each had 32.

“We had a tremendous day at Southeast of Saline,” noted Lady Viking Head Coach Sharlene Ramsey. “We worked all week on making a good first pass to the setter and I thought it showed. It’s hard to start an offense if the setter is chasing the first ball and we didn’t have to do that too many times today. I’m so proud of our girls as they really played with effort and determination.”

Coach Ramsey concluded her coach reflections by noting how the other Smoky Valley spikers were doing, saying, “I’ll put a plug out for our other two squads competing on Saturday as our junior varsity team one won their tournament in Lyons and the junior varsity team two took second in Minneapolis, so Smoky Valley volleyball had an awesome day on the court!”

The Lady Vikings will return to the net on Tuesday with a home match.

(Copyright@2019-CrossDove Writers)

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