VOLLEYBALL: Trojan spikers primed for a deep run
After six months of waiting for the return of high school athletics, one thing for certain is that if there’s going to be a season, 17-year Trojan volleyball coach Sandy Arnold will be ready.
Five of Hillsboro’s six starters previously carried the Trojans in March to within one win of a state basketball berth.
They now will carry Hillsboro’s hopes for the final time as seniors on the volleyball court.
“This year’s team will return a large number of girls with varsity experience,” Arnold said. “They have always had a passion for the game, but hopefully now their experience and game knowledge, in addition to their athleticism, will help them reach a new level.”
Senior Teegan Werth spent last season sidelined with illness, but Arnold still guided Hillsboro to a 21-19 finish before tumbling to Belle Plaine with a ticket to the Class 2A tournament on the line at Bluestem.
Joining Werth will be Kinsey Kleiner, Dani Klein, Tuesday Weisbeck, and Jessica Saunders, giving Arnold perhaps her best team since finishing second to Silver Lake six years ago.
“Once our serving and our passing game is consistent, the possibilities for a strong run at the end of the season could open up,” Arnold said.
Five-foot-11 middle hitter Saunders and 5-7 setter Kleiner were Central Kansas League honorable mentions last year, and Saunders’ sister, 5-8 junior Sammie Saunders, was named to the CKL’s second team.
The 5-7 Werth joins Sammie to bolster Hillsboro at outside hitter.
Arnold also has strength at defensive specialist, with the 5-6 Klein, and 5-3 sophomore Kori Arnold. Weisbeck brings experience at opposite hitter.
Middle of the pack has become a familiar place for the Trojans in the always formidable CKL, but the team will look to buck that trend this year.
The odds are favorable the Trojans would’ve improved on last year’s 4-5 league finish for fifth had Werth been healthy.
Nickerson, Smoky Valley, and Halstead figure to be front-runners in despite the Panthers graduating the All-State duo of Cyra Kelley and Morgan Stout, and the Vikings return 6-0 junior Abby Rose.
“We are not certain we will be playing in tournaments this season due to COVID-19,” Arnold said.
“We are honestly just truly happy to be playing this season and hope we can finish the schedule in place — with adjustments — and have postseason play.”
Last modified Sept. 3, 2020