The Hillsboro Lady Trojans encountered a speed bump at the outset of their home quadrangular Thursday, but then kicked into high gear for match wins against Southeast of Saline, Moundridge, and Marion.
The Trojans had difficulty finding their rhythm in the opening game against SES. Two freshmen, Sarah Starr and Erica Montgomery, brought the lion’s share of the heat for SES as the teams battled to 16-all.
Hillsboro took a time out when the Purple Trojans gained a 16-18 edge, but that failed to stop the momentum building for Southeast.
The lead grew to 5 points, 18-23, after Shannon Heiser missed on a serve and Starr nailed a cross-court slam. Hillsboro drew to within 3, but Montgomery hammered a kill down the line for a startling 25-21 SES win.
The Trojans, with Danae Bina serving, got off to a 5-0 start in the second game. Alex Raztlaff made big contributions at the net and serving line in another run that doubled the margin to 20-10. Hillboro evened the match with a 25-18 victory, and breezed to a 25-14 win in the third game.
Focused and invigorated by the comeback win, the Lady Trojans completely smothered Moundridge in the next match.
No stretch defined Hillsboro’s dominance more than a string of 11 consecutive points in the middle of the first game. Tena Loewen, Heiser, and Addie Lackey along the front, and Maci Schlehuber, Ratzlaff, and Bina in back were a perfect setup. They turned a close 11-7 lead into a 22-7 knockout punch, winning 25-8. The Trojans were up 15-4 in the second game when head coach Sandy Arnold started substituting, and a weak Moundrige rally fell short, 25-19.
A defending state champion playing against a team that went 13-21 last season should have been a mismatch, and it was. The Marion Warriors measured their victories in points, not runs or wins. Hillsboro breezed through the match in two games, 25-16 and 25-15.
Marion head coach Deanna Thierolf was impressed with the Lady Trojans’ dominance at the net.
“When we’re not getting blocks, we were sitting ducks and got pounded,” Thierolf said. “They’re a doggone good team. I think they’re better this year than last year.”
Hillsboro traveled Tuesday to Hesston for matches against Hesston and Douglass. They play at Riley County on Thursday, and will play Cheney and Haven at Cheney on Tuesday.