BY JIM MISUNAS
ELLINWOOD — A few days after sweeping their fourth consecutive Central Prairie League volleyball championship, Ellinwood's magical season is over. Ellinwood defeated St. John 25-19, 25-22 for the CPL volleyball title.
The No. 1 seeded and No. 9 state-ranked 2A Eagles have been ordered into quarantine because of the coronavirus.
“Today was one of the most difficult days I’ve had as an educator and coach,” he said. “I informed the girls they were being quarantined for the remainder of the volleyball season and their season was over due to COVID exposure."
"As a team we completely understand the situation and accept it for what it is," he said. "We appreciate the considerations given by the Barton Health Department and our school district personnel in pursuing all avenues to keep our season going and keeping the health and safety of our students at the forefront of their decisions. We understand how difficult the decisions were that had to be made. The facts and the timing of the case simply were not in our favor. Even though many of our girls made significant sacrifices to protect our season, we knew this was a potential all year.”
Maxwell empathized with the girls.
“My heart breaks for these girls and the devastating circumstances that brought their season to an end,” Maxwell said. “The message is and always will be to refuse to be victims and we'll always strive to be champions. They truly accomplished all the goals they set for themselves in this challenging year and are walking out as champions.”
Maxwell appreciates any support for the Eagles.
“I ask that everyone understand what this sport means to these girls and the passion they have,” he said. “They are losing an incredible aspect in their life sooner than anticipated. In addition, they are now in isolation and separated from each other. So please reach out to these girls in any way possible and show them the appreciation and acknowledgment they deserve. I can assure you they would enjoy the communication and support.”
Maxwell said 2020 will be a season he’ll always remember.
“We feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to play as much as we did and enjoy the success and accomplishments,” Maxwell said. “I thank all who have supported our girls. I absolutely have loved coaching these kids and will cherish the memories. Congratulations to the girls on a phenomenal season. I could it be more proud of them.”
Ellinwood Superintendent Ben Jacobs issued a statement on behalf of the school district.
"Ellinwood USD 355 would like to celebrate the Ellinwood volleyball team. This year's squad delivered a 31-5 record, a CPL championship and a No. 1 seed in the 2A substate. While the team will be unable to compete in state due to a quarantine restriction, it can celebrate the fact it walked off the court as champions. The senior class produced 38 straight CPL wins, four CPL titles and earned the best record in substate the past two seasons. This class has created a championship standard that will influence the next generation of Eagle volleyball players. Thank you to all players, coaches and parents for making this season so special."
ELLINWOOD STATS—Mya Maxwell, 323 winners, 233 digs, 301 ballhandling assists; Bella Baker, 161 winners, 169 digs, 323 serves received; Jacobs, 164 winners, 29 blocks; Brittany Simpson, 22 blocks; Anahi Mendez 352 digs, 307 serves received; Mary Dimitt, 190 digs, 339 ballhandling assists; Hailey Gross, 264 serves received
CENTRAL PRAIRIE LEAGUE
1—Ellinwood def. St. John, 25-19, 25-22; 3—Victoria def. Central Plains, 21-25, 25-19, 25-21
SEMIFINALS—Ellinwood def. Central Plains, 25-23, 25-20; St. John def. Victoria, 19-25, 25-20, 25-16
POOL A—Ellinwood def. Central Plains, 25-23, 25-20; Ellinwood def. Macksville, 25-10, 25-11; Ellinwood def. LaCrosse, 25-6, 25-11; St. John def. Macksville, 25-14, 25-20; St. John def. LaCrosse,25-4, 25-12; Macksville def. LaCrosse, 25-13, 25-13
POOL B—Victoria def. Central Plains, 25-20, 25-16; Victoria def. Otis-Bison, 25-17, 25-15; Victoria def. Kinsley,25-11, 25-12; Central Plains def. Otis-Bison, 25-15, 23-25, 25-13; Central Plains def. Kinsley, 25-7, 25-19; Otis-Bison def. Kinsley, 25-14, 25-14
VOLLEYBALL SUBSTATES Oct. 24
2A WAKEENEY—Smith Center 29-6 bye; Hoxie 15-14 vs. Ell-Saline 6-23; WaKeeney-Trego 23-7 vs. Plainville 1-14; Ellis 14-13 vs. Hill City 9-17
1A-DIV. 1 KINSLEY—St. John 18-17 bye; Macksville 11-19 vs. LaCrosse 4-19; Ness City 10-16 bye; Hodgeman County 9-19 vs. Kinsley 8-22
1A-DIV. 1 SYLVAN—Sylvan-Lucas 31-2 bye; Clifton-Clyde 12-16 vs. Mankato Rock Hills 11-14, Downs Lakeside 24-6 vs. Lincoln 8-13; Central Plains 21-11 vs. Solomon 13-19
1A-DIV. 2 OTIS—Ransom Western Plains 16-14 bye; Rozel Pawnee Heights 6-12 vs. Stafford 4-22, Logan-Palco 13-16 vs. Natoma 0-26; Otis-Bison 13-17 vs. Chase 3-18