By Staff

            LINDSBORG – On Saturday, the Smoky Valley volleyball team hosted their Class 3A sub-state tournament and pulled out a first-place finish which adds up to a third straight trip to the Class 3A state tournament.

            With the sub-state win, the Lady Vikings are now 32-8 for the season as they head to Hutchinson on Friday and Saturday for the Class 3A state tournament where they will be the eighth seed. Smoky Valley will open the tournament at 3:30 p.m. on Friday going up against the number one seed Seneca/Nemaha Central who sports a season record of 42-1. The other two teams in Smoky Valley’s pool play will be fourth-seed Cheney, now 35-4, and number five seed Beloit who is 34-5.

            The other four teams at the state tournament will be second seed Riverton (37-2), third seed Goodland (36-3), sixth seed Eureka (30-6), and seventh-seed Olathe/Heritage Christian (31-7).

            At the sub-state on Saturday, the Lady Vikings made quick work of their first match against Larned, winning 25-7, 25-7 as Adrian Hazelwood dished out 14 assists and made 10 digs while Hope Duncan recorded seven kills and Avery Ahlstedt had six kills. Both Duncan and Katja Blanchat chipped in with five digs each and Blanchat recorded three service aces.

            In their semi-final match, Smoky Valley scored another straight set victory, this time over Hoisington 25-12, 25-11. Hazelwood passed out 21 assists and made six digs while also getting a service ace. Hope Duncan recorded 13 kills, made six digs and had three blocks while Katja Blanchat recorded eight kills, made nine digs and had three blocks of her own. Tinley Scott made six kills and had three blocks as well.

            It was not such clear sailing in the sub-state final match against Council Grove as the Lady Vikings needed a strong first set to get a two-point 25-23 win before pulling away in the second set for a 25-13 victory and a trip to their third straight state tournament.

            In the championship match, Hazelwood stepped up again in directing the offensive attack as she dished out another 28 assists while making 10 digs with Hope Duncan recording 12 kills and making 12 digs and both Katja Blanchat and Avery Ahlstedt chipping in with 12 and 10 kills while combing for 11 digs.

            “I am so very proud of how these young ladies came together today and played their best volleyball of the season,” noted Lady Viking head coach Doug Schneider during his brief post-substate reflections. “This is when you want to be playing well and today, we did just that.”

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