Circle traveled to northeast Kansas on Saturday to participate in the 12-Team Rossville Invitational Volleyball Tournament.
Opening in pool play Circle defeated Clay Center in two games 25-19, 25-12.
The Lady Thunderbirds then lost to the 2011 Class 4A third place team Ottawa in two games 23-25 and 20-25.
Circle bounced back and defeated Tonganoxie in two games 25-13 and 25-19.
The Thunderbirds finished in a three-way tie for first in this pool and won the tie-breaker to come out first.
The top 2 teams from each of the three pools of four advanced to an 8-team bracket along with the two best 3rd-place pool teams.
Circle was paired up with Desoto in their quarterfinal. In an exciting hard-fought three-set match, the Thunderbirds came out on top 19-25, 29-27, 26-24.
“That was, without a doubt, our best match so far this season,” said Head Coach Shelly Nibarger. “Our theme is battle this year, and we backed this up in this exciting match.”
The Lady Thunderbirds made stops time and again in both the second and third sets when Desoto was serving for the match.
“We showed a lot of character and a “refuse to lose” mentality that I hadn’t seen in this group yet this season,” said Nibarger.
In the semi-finals, Circle took on Wamego, the 5th-ranked team in class 4A, who had not lost a match yet in the tourney.
It appeared the Desoto match took too much out of the Thunderbirds as they came out flat and lacking in energy. Circle lost in two games 10-25 and 23-25.
In the third-place match, Circle once again played Ottawa, who had lost to Holton in the other semi-final.
The T-Birds battled hard, but came up on the short in the end, 20-25 and 23-25.
The T-Birds are now 10-7 on the season.
Circle takes on Wellington and Wichita Collegiate Tuesday at Circle High School. Game times are 5 and 7 p.m.
“We had a much better performance in this tournament than we did last year, so that’s very encouraging. We played our best volleyball of the season, going 3-3, but losing to two quality teams in Wamego once and Ottawa twice.”
Tournament Stats Leaders
Kills: Leslie Geist-40, Erin Schiesser-26, Alexis Wiebe-20
Assists: Katie Frankenbery-91
Digs: Taylor Adlesperger-91
Blocks: Jamie Wright-14
Service Aces: Summer Welch-9