Volleyball to open season Saturday at Lansing Invitational
After what at times felt like a painfully long wait, the Lansing High varsity volleyball team finally will get to open its season.
The Lions have spent the past three weeks with practice, practice and more practice, but they haven't had a chance to test their skills against another team.
"It's been a little bit of an anxious kind of thing because we're ready to play," senior Dana Sanders said. "We wish we could have played sooner or had some sort of a warm-up game."
The Lions will get their fill of volleyball this weekend, though, when the 11th annual Lansing Invitational Tournament begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. Among the 10 teams in the tournament field are 2005 Class 5A state qualifier Lansing and 2005 Class 6A state champion Washburn Rural from Topeka. Other schools who will compete are Shawnee Mission West, Spring Hill, Piper, Sabetha, Atchison, Basehor-Linwood, De Soto and Louisburg.
Sanders said the tournament was loaded with talented teams that would serve as a good early test for the Lions.
"It's a good opener," she said. "It's good to have this type of opponents, because no matter if we're 4A or 5A this year, we need that kind of competitiveness to be able to play on a higher level."
Rural will be the favorite to win the tournament because the Junior Blues return seven players from last year's team that went 41-3. Currently they are ranked No. 3 in Class 6A and own a 6-0 record - including a win against the top team in 5A, Bishop Miege.
Rural handed Lansing one of its eight losses last season.
"We lost to them pretty bad last year," Sanders said, "but hopefully we can regain a win there."
Although the Lions have yet to play a match this season, they already have one thing working in their favor: team chemistry. Practices have been upbeat and intense, and the mixture of six seniors and three juniors has been positive thus far.
"Most of us have played together from Northeast Elite," Sanders said, citing their experience with the local volleyball club. "We know each other pretty well and we know what we all do well. It's good that we already know each other so we don't have to go through that phase (during the season)."
The tournament Saturday will consist of both pool play and single-elimination tournament play.
First, five teams - Lansing, Basehor, Louisburg, Spring Hill and Sabetha - will play in the black pool at the LHS gym. Atchison, De Soto, SM West, Piper and Rural will play in the red pool at Lansing Middle School.
When pool play is over, the tournament field will be reseeded, and bracket play will begin at 2:15 p.m.