Lady Hornets just miss Satanta volleyball crown
By BRETT MARSHALL
SATANTA — One week into the 2013 volleyball season and both Whitney Linenberger and Jill Scott like what they see in their respective teams from Dighton and Stanton County.
On Saturday, the two squads competed in the 8-team Satanta Invitaitonal and fared well.
The Lady Hornets of Linenberger took second to Class 1A powerhouse Spearville while the Scott's Lady Trojans captured the third-place honor with a straight-set win over Coldwater-South Central.
Now 6-3 in the young season, Linenberger said she liked much of what she saw in her team that has a good mix of senior leadership and underclassmen.
"We came in today wanting to go undefeated, so I'm a little disappointed in that," said Linenberger, a Holcomb native who graduated from Dighton High in 2007. "We've got a mental block with Spearville to overcome, but I thought we made some progress in that regard today."
The Lady Hornets were in the same Pool (B) with the Lady Lancers and dropped a three-set match early in the day, losing the first and deciding third sets after capturing the middle set of the match. It was the same thing in the championship match, Spearville winning a monumental battle 26-24, 22-25, 25-21. Stanton County dropped South Central 25-20, 25-16 after dropping the semifinal match with Dighton, 25-18, 25-21. The Lady Trojans now sport a 4-4 record.
Linenberger, who took the Lady Hornets to the 2011 state tournament but missed out a year ago with a sub-state championship loss, has her team's sights set high.
"We have high hopes, and I like the progress our seniors have made since they were sophomores and we've got some really, really good freshmen with a mix of sophomores and juniors," Linenberger said. "I feel like our skill level has improved, but there's things we can do better. Our hits were better today, but our passing should be better."
With a mix of her tall front line players — 5-10 senior Leslie Speer and 5-10 freshman Jordan Speer — Linenberger also mixes in senior Diamond Brown and sophomores Kiara Budd and Dakota Hoffman along with several other key performers.
"I thought Jordan (Speer) stepped up big for us today," Linenberger said of her 5-10 freshman. "We're learning to read the ball and we've made strides. I thought we got better each match today."
In the championship match, the Lady Hornets had an opportunity to win the first set after falling behind 10-1 early. They came all the way back to lead 24-19 but couldn't finish off their Spearville nemesis, which scored the final seven points to go ahead. But Dighton responded with a strong second set, leading 7-1 early before seeing the lead dissipate. They trailed 19-18 before running out a 7-3 ending to square the match at 1-all. In the deciding third set, Spearville jumped out early, leading 10-3 and never trailed. The Hornets trailed as much as 19-10 before making a final push, closing to 22-20 but couldn't overtake the Lancers.
For Stanton County's Scott, it was a time to see her squad go 2-1 in Pool (A) play, dropping Deerfield and South Central, and losing to host Satanta.
"Third's kinda like a really good day for us," an enthusiastic Scott said after claiming the consolation match. "I thought our serve receive was really, really good today. We played at a much higher intensity level and when you do that, you're going to be better off."
Scott said that her team is beginning to show signs of coming together as a unit.
"I think we're meshing as a team," Scott said. "We played two different rotations today, and they did what was asked of them. When they do that, then it's best for the team."
Other area teams competing included host Satanta, Sublette and Deerfield.
All the teams are either Class 1 or 2A and will await sub-state assignments which are made later this month.