Before the season started, El Dorado High School volleyball coach Jane Squires said she believed her Wildcat team could make it to the Class 4A State Tournament. The Wildcats came within one game of making it a reality.


 

 


Before the season started, El Dorado High School volleyball coach Jane Squires said she believed her Wildcat team could make it to the Class 4A State Tournament. The Wildcats came within one game of making it a reality.

The Wildcats, seeded fifth at Saturday’s Sub-State Tournament at Caney Valley, took down two higher-seeded teams before losing in three sets to league rival Augusta, 25-21, 17-25, 25-11, in the final. El Dorado had defeated fourth seed Labette County (25-19, 25-9) and top seed Independence (25-15, 25-23) to get to the final. El Dorado finished the season 18-18 overall and 5-5 in AVCTL Division III, tying for second in the league with Augusta and Andover Central behind league champion Andover.

Senior Brittany Brown led El Dorado with 34 kills on the day, including 12 against Labette and 14 against Indy. Rachel West had 19 kills, including 10 in the final against Augusta. Haley Bergen had nine kills while Keeley Jones added five.

Senior Jessica Currier had 26 digs at Sub-State while Alyssa Riffel had 19. As a team, the Wildcats served 93 percent on the day with 22 aces, including five from Brown. The Wildcats will graduate four seniors this year: Brown, Currier, Jones and Megan Fleener.

“I am so proud of the way we competed,” Squires said. “Our team was ready, kept the energy level up and really executed the way we should. We swept the fourth and top seeds just to get to the final. It’s hard to be so close and not get the prize, but they have come away a better team with an attitude needed to continue competing in the future.”

Circle was the second seed at Caney Valley and won their opening match over seventh-seeded host Caney, 25-9, 25-9, and came within an eyelash of the final, losing to third-seeded Augusta in the semifinals, 25-19, 15-25, 27-25. The Lady T-Birds finished their season 27-12, 6-4 and third place in AVCTL Division IV. Circle missed playing in the Sub-State final for the first time since 1997.

Claire Jensen finished the day 25-for-25 serving and had 18 kills. Hanna Flaming served 21-for-21 with five aces and four kills, and she had five blocks against Augusta. Hannah Holem led Circle with 13 digs while setter Ally Burden finished with 31 assists. Kyrstie Ehm had five kills against Augusta. Circle also graduates four seniors: Jensen, Holem, Haley Hatfield and Kara Duryea.

“The Augusta loss was very disappointing,” said Circle head coach Shelly Nibarger. “We were up 20-15 and 22-18 in the third game, but we gave up six straight points. Then we got three straight and had a match point. I have to give Augusta credit; they could’ve folded and they didn’t. They got more aggressive and we backed off. I feel bad for our girls because they’ve come a long way since August. We were definitely contenders, and not too many people would’ve expected that from this group at the beginning of the season.”