By BRETT MARSHALL
CIMARRON — Before Saturday's Class 3A sub-state tournament, Holcomb Lady Longhorns volleyball coach Jennifer Barrett said she thought her No. 3-seeded team was primed for a run at the championship that would earn them a trip to Emporia for the state tourney.
The only team that stood in their way was top-seed and tradition-rich Hoisington's Cardinals.
When the teams took to the floor for the title match after tough semifinal victories, the Lady Longhorns just didn't have enough as they fell in the title match by identical scores of 25-20.
"They're a really good team, and we know they're always going to be a tough match-up," Barrett said afterward. "They run a much quicker tempo offense than what we normally see and what we saw in our earlier matches, and sometimes it's just tough to adjust."
Perhaps it was the physically and emotionally draining semifinal victory over Cimarron that left the Longhorns not quite as sharp as they had been.
The Longhorns had rolled past the Lady Bluejays 25-12 in the first set before falling 25-18 in the second set. In the third and deciding set, it went to extra points before Holcomb won 26-24.
"The Cimarron match was an intense one and everybody played with a lot of heart," Barrett said. "It's one of those things where we didn't see Cimarron during the season."
The Lady Longhorns did tie the second set at 15 and 17 points, but from there Cimarron went on an 8-1 finish to send the match to the third set.
Once again, Cimarron (30-8) broke out to an early lead and was still on top at 19-15 before Holcomb put on its final surge, tying the set at 20 and then putting the final point away on a kill by senior hitter Haley Heydman.
Holcomb finishes its season with a 29-8 record. Lakin lost to Phillipsburg in the opener and was 21-13.
In Class 1A-Division II, Ingalls' Lady Bulldogs and Dighton's Lady Hornets earned berths to the state tournament, which begins on Friday in Hays.
Ingalls won its sub-state with a three-set victory over top-seeded Fowler (25-14, 20-25, 25-17) at Moscow while Dighton's triumph came over Otis-Bison (25-15, 25-23) at Ransom/Western Plains.
In Class 4A-Division I, Ulysses was eliminated by Abilene in a semifinal match at Abilene (15-25, 25-18, 25-19). In 4A-II at Colby, Scott City and Hugoton were knocked out in semifinal matches against Goodland and Colby. The Lady Beavers fell 25-18, 25-17 to eventual winner Goodland while Hugoton lost to Colby in a three-set marathon (23-25, 25-22, 25-22).
In the Class 2A sub-state at Syracuse, Meade dominated Elkhart in the championship game (25-13, 25-8) after Stanton County and Oakley came up short in the semifinals. Syracuse, South Gray, wichita County and Sublette were the teams that fell in opening rounds.