Volleyball team takes second place at state

Olathe East defeated the volleyball team in three sets in the state championship game. This results in a second place finish for BVNW.

Jay Alexander, Kat Flaherty, Ben Charpentier, and Taylor Cowell

Liz Kuhlmann, Sports Editor

The 6A volleyball championship game was comparable to the tide, as many ups and downs occurred for both Blue Valley Northwest and Olathe East. However, at the conclusion of the match, OE totaled more ups than downs as they came away with the state title in three hard fought sets.

The Ravens came out strong in the first set, and began exchanging points with the Huskies while maintaining a one or two point lead for most of the game. BVNW head coach Molly Haggerty called two timeouts during the set in order to instruct her team and will them to gain control, but to no avail. The Ravens came out on top with a score of 25-20.

Haggerty said during the break she instructed the team to shut down the Ravens’ middle girls. The team had to adjust and become aware of where the middles went in an effort to control the game.

“We told ourselves, ‘Come home with a trophy, or don’t come home at all,’” BVNW senior outside hitter Sydney Walls said. “And we took that motivation and applied it to the second game where we absolutely killed them.”

After a high energy team talk, the Huskies sprang out from their huddle and started off the second set with a 4-0 run. Olathe East head coach Brian Martin was forced to call a timeout as the Huskies lengthened their lead to 16-7 in an attempt to advise his team on how to react. However, the Husky defense proved to be too much for the Raven’s offense as Haggerty said her middles and hitters totaled up a plethora of blocks. The Ravens dropped the second set with a score of 25-16.

“That’s kind of our MO,” Martin said. “We come out strong, but then we get down on ourselves. It’s a factor of our youth. We have to fight to get back up.”

As both teams prepared for the third and final set, Walls said it came down to who wanted the game more. The beginning of the third set was much like the first has both teams exchanged the lead, until the Huskies’ momentum from the previous game began to lend a hand. After the Ravens began to pull away, BVNW battled back with a 5-0 run and Martin was forced to call another timeout when the score became 11-8. This strategy worked, and the Ravens came out to pull ahead, 14-13, when Haggerty retaliated with a timeout of her own. However, the Huskies were never able to regain a lead, and a sense of urgency filled the Pound and bench as the last few points were fought out and distributed.

On the final point of the match, after the ball had made over to both sides of the net twice, an Olathe East middle slammed the ball toward Walls, who with a slower reaction time than usual, misguided it onto the opposite court giving OE the victory.

“I didn’t know if there was a touch or not,” Walls said with a shrug. “So it shanked. I don’t have any regrets though; it was a great season regardless of the loss. Even though we could’ve gotten first, it was still an amazing season.”

Martin was ecstatic with the win, and described feeling as though he were on Cloud 9 after the final whistle blew. The Ravens knew winning state was a possibility at the beginning of the year if their defense improved, and it was their defense during the last set that made all the difference.

“I’m kind of floating right now,” Martin said. “The last ten points, the way the defense dug out everything and how we kept the ball alive and let our offense do it’s thing, that was amazing.”

Despite the loss, Haggerty said she was extremely proud of how the Huskies competed. She believes it was an even match, and recognizes that some points go one way and others go another way, and Haggerty said the Ravens made some key plays at the right time that the Huskies couldn’t defend.

“I’m really proud of this group of girls,” Haggerty said. “They had a great season. When you have two really good teams, its’ just kids that are trying to play their hearts out and make the most of whatever volleyball they have left. All I wanted them to do was compete and just work super hard and that’s what they did to the very end. So I’m really proud of them.”