Lady Bobcats not satisfied with sixth place
The Basehor-Linwood High School volleyball team finished sixth in the 10-team field at the De Soto Invitational Tournament on Saturday. It was the third time in three tournaments this year that the Lady Bobcats finished in the middle of the pack, and, while that's better than where they were finishing last year, it's not quite where they want to be.
"It's not good enough," junior Brooke Sanders said of taking sixth. "We should have been at least in the top three or four."
The Lady 'Cats put themselves in a good position to crack the final four by winning their first two matches Saturday. They used their athleticism to overwhelm Baldwin 25-10, 25-19 and Jefferson County North 25-21, 25-10. But their next two opponents, home team De Soto and regional champion Eudora, were much tougher.
Basehor-Linwood played De Soto even in the first game, until a 4-0 run by the Wildcats put them up 16-11. De Soto pulled away down the stretch, winning 25-16. But the Lady Bobcats responded to their first loss of the tournament by playing some of their best volleyball in Game 2.
Cassie Lombardino nailed eight kills and Chelsey Patton and Michelle Chrisman combined for six more to lead BLHS to a hard-earned 25-21 victory.
"We were very evenly matched with De Soto with our middle and outside hitters," Sanders said.
Game 3 between De Soto and BLHS started out as another back-and-forth fight. A key Lombardino block gave BLHS the lead at 10-9. Two points later Lombardino went up for a kill and was blocked, putting De Soto back in front 11-10.
BLHS would tie the game at 11, but the match went downhill from there. The Lady Bobcats made six service errors down the stretch and ended up losing 25-17.
"What we have to do against teams like that is not have unforced errors, play a clean game," BLHS coach Tammy Zydlo said. "As long as we're passing the ball well, and getting our serves in, we can compete with anybody."
After the De Soto match, the Lady Bobcats were eager to show they could compete with their next opponent, Eudora. The Lady Cardinals have been one of the state's best class 4A teams in recent years, but this year BLHS played them close at the Tonganoxie Invitational.
Still fighting for a spot in the championship rounds Saturday, the Lady Bobcats jumped out to a 5-0 lead with Jennifer Sirridge serving. The Cardinals were forced to call timeout to try and regroup. When they came out of the timeout hard-hitting junior Nikki Snider went wild, getting five kills in the next 13 points. Eudora quickly turned the tables, going up 11-7 and forcing Zydlo to call timeout.
"We had played them tough in the past and we started out well, but we weren't able to sustain that momentum," Zydlo.
Eudora cruised through the rest of Game 1, winning 25-11. The Lady Bobcats played better n Game 2, but lost 25-17. They missed their chance to advance to the championship rounds, and make a big statement by beating one of the best teams in the area.
"It would be a huge confidence booster," Sanders said of beating Eudora. "It would show us that we're a good team, because sometimes it seems like we think we aren't."
By finishing 2-2 in pool play, the Lady Bobcats were relegated to a fifth-place consolation match against Spring Hill. They lost 25-18, 25-21.
On Tuesday the Lady 'Cats faced Lansing and Perry-Lecompton in a triangular. They beat Perry and lost to Lansing to bring their record to 12-15. The team has just one varsity date left before regionals, a quadrangular with Bonner Springs, Wyandotte and Harmon at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Wyandotte. Last year the Lady 'Cats went 2-1 at Wyandotte, losing to Bonner Springs.
-- Sanders was back in action last week after missing two matches with a sprained wrist. Against De Soto she racked up a team-high 16 assists.
-- The BLHS volleyball team will compete at the Holton regional tournament site this year. For more on the regional field, see next week's Sentinel.