By Jim Misunas
HOISINGTON — Larned High’s experience in the new Central Kansas League continues to be an uphill climb for the returning Class 4A-Division II state qualifier.
Kingman outlasted Larned 25-21, 24-26, 25-15 and Hoisington beat the Indians 25-20, 25-10 in Tuesday’s CKL triangular. Hoisington defeated Kingman in the third match.
“Don’t count us out yet. I saw my girls come together last night through most of the night, better than they have all season,” said Larned coach Paul Deveaux. “The way we battled back in the second set against Kingman to force set three proved to me that good things are ahead.”
Larned led Kingman by as many as six points in the first set before getting outscored 15-4 down the stretch. The Eagles scored the final six points.
The Indians nearly let a five-point lead slip away in the second set after leading 22-17. Larned escaped a match point and scored the final three points, keyed by an Ally Aldrich winner, for a 26-24 decision. Kingman controlled the third set.
Aarika Bright had six aces versus Kingman.
“They couldn’t find an answer for her serve and she only lost the serve on her own error,” Deveaux said.
Larned hung close with Hoisington in the first set and sliced an eight-point lead to 22-19. The Cardinals dominated the second set after roaring to a 12-2 lead.
Maci Perez led Larned with 13 kills and six aces during the two matches.
“Maci contributed well with passing and defense,” Deveaux said. “By far, she was the player of the night doing just about everything I asked of her. Ally Aldrich had nine kills on the night and defended very well, continuing to be a tremendous asset for our team.”
Deveaux said his setters, Alysa Byrum and Kelsey Parr, did an exceptional job in the Indians’ setting by committee style of offense.
“I saw more hustle out of them than I have seen all year,” he said. “The league continues to be very tough. It’s a league where if you have any type of off night, the other team will seize control. You can’t let up and you can’t have any kind of off night if you want to win.”