SALINA — The No. 1-ranked Hoisington High School volleyball team was shocked early on in the Class 3A state tournament pool play on Friday.
The Lady Cardinals opened the tournament with a loss to No. 8-seeded Wellsville.
Hoisington struggled back to finish as the state runner-up.
“It is the highest finish for a Hoisington High School volleyball team, and we had the best record in high school history,” Lady Cards head coach Tina Johnson said. “I would have liked to bring back a championship for this community, the fans and especially the girls. They played really hard out there.”
The Lady Cardinals, who finished the season at 39-6, faced Hillsboro in the championship match after losing to it in pool play 21-25, 25-21, 28-26.
In the championship match, Hillsboro finished off Hoisington in two games 25-17, 25-23.
“We had the momentum at the end of the second game,” Johnson said. “We finally got Mallory (Flagor) in the front row where she needed to be, but we just couldn’t catch up to them before they got us.”
Flagor led with 11 kills and a pair of solo blocks. Senior Savannah Rose and freshman Jordan Moore each added five kills.
Pool play started well for Hoisington, but No. 8-seeded Wellsville rallied to win 13-25, 25-20 and 25-22.
The Lady Cards recovered by beating Douglas, which was ranked No. 5 in the latest Kansas Volleyball Association poll, 25-9, 25-18.
Abbi Rziha had a pair of aces in the match, and Flagor led with 14 kills.
The loss caused a three-way tie for second place in the pool, and the Lady Cardinals won the tiebreaker to advance to a semifinal match against Phillipsburg.
Hoisington beat the Lady Panthers in three games 25-16, 24-26, 25-22.
Flagor had 21 kills and five solo blocks in the match. Breanna Burns had three aces and Mykela Riedl added two more.
Johnson said that in spite of how they finished, her players should hold keep their chins up.
“I know that coming home, the kids were disappointed with how we finished,” Johnson said. “They wanted to win it all, but if you look at it, there are 64 teams, and 62 of them would love to be where they are.
“I am very proud with how our kids handled themselves at the tournament. They’ve worked very hard all season.”
Rziha, Riedl and Flagor were selected as all-tournament players.
CLASS 3A STATE VOLLEYBALL
Pool 1 — Wellsville def. Hoisington, 13-25, 25-20, 25-22; Hillsboro def. Douglass, 25-12, 25-12; Hoisington def. Douglass 25-9, 25-18; Hillsboro def. Wellsville, 25-9, 25-19; Douglass def. Wellsville 0, 25-22, 25-13; Hillsboro def. Hoisington, 21-25, 25-21, 28-26
Pool 2 — Seneca-Nemaha Valley def. Cherokee-Southeast, 25-19, 25-13; Phillipsburg def. Marysville, 25-20, 25-16; Marysville def. Cherokee-Southeast, 25-19, 25-16; Phillipsburg def. Seneca-Nemaha Valley, 22-25, 25-20, 25-13; Marysville def. Seneca-Nemaha Valley, 25-19, 25-18; Phillipsburg def. Cherokee-Southeast, 25-19, 25-14
Semifinals — Hillsboro def. Marysville, 25-15, 25-15; Hoisington def. Phillipsburg, 25-16, 21-25, 25-22
Third place — Phillipsburg def. Marysville, 25-14, 20-25, 25-14
Championship — Hillsboro def. Hoisington, 25-17, 25-23