Goessel seniors gearing up for another run at state
Graduation has a way of taking some teams down a notch the following season, but that’s not the case this year for Goessel volleyball.
Coach Crysta Guhr, entering her 13th year of leading the Bluebirds, has all but one player back from last year’s third-place IA Division I state team.
Four of those players — Leah Booton, Brittney Hiebert, Eden Hiebert, and Kara Burkholder — are seniors with a phenomenal 129-3 record who have every intention of returning to state, no matter what class they’re in.
Guhr said that when final enrollment figures are certified an increase in students could put Goessel in Class 2A. Such a move would add a new dimension to the team’s goals.
“This group of seniors has won a state title,” Guhr said. “What do you do that’s different than that? I think that’s what it is. If we’re 2A, that is something nobody else has done, and the opportunity to represent our school at the 2A level is exciting for us.”
Guhr’s senior quartet has been playing together since junior high school. When they step on the court this season, they will be favorites, often overwhelming favorites, in nearly every match they play.
They stay motivated by knowing their main opponent is achieving their own expectations.
“I think we’re all really passionate about the sport, we all love it, and keeping our minds on the goal on the horizon,” Eden Hiebert said.
“We push each other to be the best we can be,” Burkholder said.
Their coach and school pride also factor in.
“I think we all respect coach a lot,” Brittney Hiebert said, “so I think we try our hardest to put everything we have out there for her to represent her, the school, and ourselves.”
Lessons learned under Guhr’s tutelage have gone a long way toward building self-confidence and cohesiveness, the girls said.
“I’ve learned to respect each other’s talents and weaknesses, just accepting and coming together as one team,” Booton said.
“She’s taught us how to be young, respectable women,” Brittney Hiebert said. “This summer she really focused on the message of ‘strong is the new beautiful.’ Just be confident in our bodies and what we have because it’s God’s gift to us. She’s taught us to be confident in ourselves.”
Twice a Kansas Volleyball Association 1A Division 1 all-state first teamer, Eden Hiebert said her volleyball experience has taught her the value of commitment.
“This can go outside of volleyball to life in general,” she said. “You have to really commit to everything you’re doing and give it your all to be successful. You can’t just go through the motions and show up and expect to get results.”
The girls agreed that by playing together since junior high they’ve developed an awareness of each other’s play that allows them to often know how each other will react in a given situation.
“We just try to have as much fun as we can,” Brittney Hiebert said. “We’re honestly more like sisters than friends because we’ve been together so long. We trust each other. I just love getting to play with them. We’re a crazy bunch.”
The quartet will be joined on the court by returning junior letterwinners Savanna Wuest and Cierra Nolte. Juniors Stephany Meyer, Madison Smith, and Audessi Unruh also will push for playing time, Guhr said.
“We played a lot over the summer so we have some things pretty solidified,” she said.
The Bluebirds will open the season Tuesday with matches against Ell-Saline, Herington, and Haven at Have. After home dates Sept. 9 and 12, Goessel won’t play at home again until the Wheat State League tournament Oct. 14.
Last modified Aug. 31, 2017