Volleyball ends season without state tournament

Micheal Simmons, Blue M Editor-In-Chief

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The post-season was cut short for the Manhattan High volleyball team as for the first time in recent years they didn’t make it to the state tournament, losing to their league rivals, Washburn Rural, at sub-state.

The team ended the season with a match record of 19-17 and a set record of 42-38. Despite the end of the season, the team did not leave emptied handed as they beat Lawrence Free-State before playing Washburn.

“We didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked to. We had so many ups and downs this season with injuries and loss, I was really proud of the girls to beat Free-State,” head coach Lisa Kinderknecht said. “To comeback and beat them after losing to them earlier in the season in a high stakes game like that was huge. We played really hard and I was really proud of how they finished. Even though the score did not depict the effort, the teamwork or the communication.”

MHS won against Free-State (25-21, 19-25, 25-21) despite losing to them earlier in the season (22-25, 17-25). This win put MHS one step away from making it to the state tournament, the only thing blocking their path being Washburn. The rivalry between the two teams has affected all three times they have met, each time with Washburn being on top.

“There was a big student section,” senior Haleigh Harper said. “They always bring out a big show when they play us. The rivalry definitely affected the game, I know we were really hyped up to play them and they were hyped up to play us, it just didn’t turn out the way that we wanted. It’s tough to end the season with a loss like this, especially to Washburn who have always been a rivalry school with us so it was really bitter to lose to them.”

Every time MHS has faced Washburn, despite Washburn coming out on top, the matches continued to get closer together and more intense. During their previous meet up on the MHS senior night, MHS played them to three sets, loosing in the third by a five-point margin. When they met in the sub-state tournament, with the season dangling for both teams hanging in the balance, MHS had no expectations of ending their season.

“I think it was a shock to end this early,” senior Brooklyn Cink said. “We should have won [on senior night against Washburn Rural], it was just some little errors we made here and there. I think that to play them like that versus how we played them on senior night was definitely a shock to us.”

After losing the first set, Kinderknecht gathered her team and told them to leave the court with no regret.They then headed back onto the court, for what would be their final high school volleyball moments of their lives.

“Everyone’s first reaction was anger [after losing to Washburn],” Cink said. “Not at each other but just at the fact that we had lost the game and it was the end of the season. After we told [Washburn] good game I think the sadness set in and knowing that it was the seniors last time playing high school ball. The underclassmen were sad too but it hit the seniors hard. I had gone to state during my freshman, sophomore and junior season so not going my senior year definitely hit home.”

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