By William

HUTCHINSON – Coming into the season everyone seemed to think the Smoky Valley volleyball team might do something special and they almost brought home gold on the final weekend of the season as they battled long and hard to finish second in Class 3A to Sabetha at the state tournament in Hutchinson.

By going 3-2 playing in the state final four, the Lady Vikings closed out their outstanding season with an overall mark of 33-4.

In pool play, Smoky Valley finished 2-1 after losing to Sabetha (23-25, 16-25) in the opening match before beating Goodland in three sets (25-21, 22-25, 25-20) and then West Franklin, also in three sets (23-25, 25-23, 25-21).

“When the day consisted of the top four teams in the state, no game was easy,” noted Lady Viking Head Coach Sharlene Ramsey. “All four teams started the day with the same goal – to come home with a state title. Every point throughout the day was earned and was essential.”

Smoky Valley came out of pool play as the number two seed behind Sabetha and once again battled West Franklin, with the Lady Vikings losing the first set 23-25 before bouncing back and winning both of the final two sets 25-23, 25-21 by less than six points total.

In the state championship match, the Lady Vikings once again went head-to-head with Sabetha and this time they took them to three sets. After Sabetha took the first set 19-25, Smoky Valley bounced back and won a hard fought 27-25 win in set two before dropping the final set 23-25, losing the state title by just two points.

Reflecting on the championship match, Coach Ramsey said, “Sabetha was an extremely good team. They placed the ball and really challenged us defensively. With that said, we were enormously proud of our girls and the season that they have had. They love the game, and they love playing against good teams.”

Many of the Lady Vikings had outstanding state tournaments such as McKinley Johnson and Elyse Ramsey who recorded 77 and 63 assists, respectively.

Johnson also scored 71 of 73 on her serves which included seven aces while Ramsey scored 45 of 47 with a pair of aces. Aubrey Boldra hit 50 of 55 serves with one ace and Addie Heitschmidt added 35 of 42 serves with an ace.

Abby Rose had an outstanding day on defense as she recorded 50 kills which included four solos and 12 assisted blocks, while Bri Franklin had 27 kills with three solo and 14 assisted blocks. Other top defensive performers were Heitschmidt with 22 kills and four assisted blocks and Madi Tolle who had 18 kills with three being solo and 16 assisted blocks.

“We told the girls today, it hurts to be so close and not obtain what we set our mind to do,” continued Coach Ramsey in her post-tournament reflections. “We also told them that in a few days and weeks that we hope they can reflect back on the season and celebrate so many amazing games, many amazing plays, some stellar comeback wins and so many meaningful friendships. Earning second-place in the state tournament is a huge accomplishment! The memories they have made together will forever be present with them. That is the awesome part of high school sports, it often teaches us so many life lessons that we can apply later as adults and these will be great stories for them to share with their kids and grandkids in years to come.”

Coach Ramsey concluded her post-tournament/season reflections by praising the support the Lady Vikings have had throughout the season when she added, “Our girls were so taken back by the overwhelming amount of community and school support. During out team meeting Friday night, we read letters aloud we had received from a fifth-grade class and many of them shared stories of various people who had reached out to them wishing them good luck. Our downtown store windows had some awesome messages painted for our volleyball and cross-country teams, and we both had a police escort as we left Saturday. Our volleyball parents have been incredible supporters with food, gifts, banners, and more! We are blessed to call Smoky Valley our home!”



McKinley Johnson had 77 assists.

Elyse Ramsey had 63 assists.


Abby Rose recorded 50 kills with four solo and 12 assisted blocks.

Bri Franklin recorded 27 kills with three solo and 14 assisted blocks.

Addie Heitschmidt recorded 22 kills with four assisted blocks.

Madi Tolle recorded 18 kills with three solo and 16 assisted blocks.

Belle Peters recorded 12 kills with two solo and eight assisted blocks.

Aubrey Boldra recorded 11 kills.


McKinley Johnson hit on 71 of 73 serves with seven aces.

Aubrey Boldra hit on 50 of 55 serves with one ace.

Elyse Ramsey hit on 45 of 47 serves with two aces.

Addie Heitschmidt hit on 35 of 42 serves with one ace.

Abby Rose hit on 36 of 41 serves with one ace.

Bri Franklin hit on 27 of 34 serves with two aces.

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