By Staff

            ABILENE – Last Saturday the Smoky Valley volleyball team traveled to Abilene for the Abilene Invitational and returned home with a fourth-place finish.

            Now sporting a 27-8 record for the season, the Lady Vikings were ranked 8th as of last Thursday by the Kansas Volleyball Association. Smoky Valley was scheduled for a home triangular on Tuesday, October 18 with Chapman and Nickerson on Senior Night.

            As for the matches at Abilene, Smoky Valley got off to a good start by beating Topeka High in straight sets (25-18, 25-20) as Adrian Hazelwood dished out 19 assists and made six digs while Hope Duncan and Katja Blanchat led the team in both kills with six each and digs with eight apiece. Duncan also recorded three service aces.

            In their second match of pool play the Lady Vikings took on and defeated Class 4A Buhler, winning 25-9 and 25-23. Hazelwood had another 15 assists while making four digs and four kills, and Hope Duncan led the team in kills with nine while both Katja Blanchat and Avery Ahlstedt each recorded five. Duncan also made five digs to lead the team with both Breanne Peters and Maggie Ryals each making four.

            Smoky Valley then closed out pool play unbeaten as they took down Royal Valley though it took three sets to do so. The Lady Vikings took the first set 28-26 before Royal Valley won set two, 14-25. Smoky Valley then bounced back in a lengthy third set win at 32-30. Adrian Hazelwood dished out a whopping 26 assists while making 11 digs and recording six kills to lead the Lady Vikings. Hope Duncan and Katja Blanchat topped the team in kills with 11 and nine, respectively, and Duncan led the team in digs with 13.

            Entering the semi-final matchup, Smoky Valley found themselves up against the number seven ranked team in Class 3A, Rossville, and after winning the first set 25-22, the Lady Vikings lost the final two sets 19-25, 14-25. Hazelwood had another outstanding match by dishing out another 27 assists while Blanchat led the team in kills with 14 while making 15 digs and Duncan led the Lady Vikings with 16 digs as she also recorded 12 kills.

            In the third-place match, Smoky Valley found themselves in a rematch with Royal Valley and again it went three sets only this time the Lady Vikings lost (25-21, 23-25, 27-29) in another hard fought, extra serve battle. No individual stats were available for the match.

(The Staff covering McPherson County Activities can be reached by email at