Close loss reveals potential for BSHS volleyball
The Bonner Springs High School volleyball team posted a 1-2 record at a home quadrangular Monday at the District P.E. Center, and the Braves nearly ended the night with two victories.
After rolling past Piper in the opener and then falling to Bishop Ward, BSHS dropped a wild, back-and-forth battle with Louisburg that showed coach Heather Campbell’s squad glimpses of its potential.
“Last year we were competing against everybody, but we just couldn’t hold on,” Campbell said. “This year we definitely have the talent that we could hold on and get to the 25 (point) mark.”
Bonner Springs opened the night against Piper, and the Braves took care of business in two games, 25-21, 25-21.
Piper jumped out to a 4-1 lead in game one and later held an 8-5 advantage, but BSHS made a 4-0 run behind a pair of kills by Chelsea Crawford and two aces by Jene Williams to take a 9-8 lead. Piper soon reclaimed the lead, but the Braves took it back when Crawford fired back-to-back aces for a 12-10 lead.
One of Campbell’s pet peeves — her team’s tendency to lose focus in spurts — took place as Piper unleashed a 6-0 run and appeared to take control of the game, but the Braves finished the game strong with a 13-5 run. Williams and Jessie Kelly both fired aces during the run and Crawford and Madison Scott teamed for a game-ending block.
The Braves opened game two on a 3-0 run, thanks to multiple errors by the Pirates. The lead grew to 7-4 before Piper used a 5-0 run — three of the points coming on aces by Tori Muder — to take a 9-7 lead. The Braves were in control the rest of the way. Haley Hoffine pounded three kills and fired an ace. Crawford had an ace and teamed with Erin Marx for a block. Williams and Scott combined for a block. Hackney had an ace. Finally, Hackney sent a cross-court set to Crawford for a game- and match-ending kill.
“It was very encouraging to win against Piper, a league school,” Campbell said. “I didn’t really think we were in sync, but it happened.”
The Braves carried the momentum into their match against Bishop Ward, and it lasted for a while before they lost 25-18, 25-7.
They shrugged off a quick 3-0 deficit and built a 6-4 lead behind a kill and an ace from Kelly. They used two kills and an ace from Scott to maintain a narrow lead a 12-9, but that’s when they began to unravel. Ward rode a strong serve from Abby Carson and took a 15-12 lead. The teams swapped points from there and eventually the Braves drew within 19-17 before Ward closed on a 6-1 run.
Game two was never a contest. Ward opened on a 4-0 run and steadily grew its lead, thanks to multiple hitting and communication errors by the Braves and an aggressive net game by the Cyclones. BSHS got as close as 11-5 before Ward slammed the door shut.
The Braves’ sluggish play continued into the Louisburg match as they made numerous communication and hitting errors and dug a 20-10 hole in game one. A kill by Williams sparked a stunning rally, however.
Kelly stepped up to serve and fired three aces as part of an 11-0 run that put BSHS ahead, 21-20. The Braves later led 23-21 before Louisburg closed on a 4-0 run and took game one, 25-23.
Game two was a more even affair as the teams swapped points until Louisburg built a 16-12 lead. A 7-0 run that included two kills from Crawford gave BSHS a 19-16 lead before Louisburg mounted a comeback and earned a 25-21 decision.
Despite the loss to Louisburg, Campbell said she saw more signs of improvement from her team.
“When we came back before that second game I was like, ‘Guys, you were down eight points and you were right there,’” Campbell said. “And they were like, ‘Coach, we were down 10.’ I said, ‘That’s even better.’
“We have the heart and we’re just so close. I told them the good thing is that we play Louisburg on Saturday, so it’ll be interesting to see first thing Saturday morning who’s going to be awake and come out and play.”
Bonner Springs (3-12) plays at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Louisburg Invitational. Basehor-Linwood also will compete at the tournament.