Andover’s volleyball team made a strong run at the Valley Center Invitational, but the Trojans were unable to get the better of the defending state champion Rose Hill Rockets in the semifinals. Andover bounced back to win its final match of the day to go 4-1 and take third place overall.

The Trojans started the tournament with an easy win over Wichita North (25-9, 25-12). They then beat a Salina Central team they recently defeated at home (25-16, 25-22). Andover then handled Wichita West with ease 25-12, 25-5.

Against the Rockets, Andover made a strong statement by taking the first set 25-17. But the Rockets proved to be resilient as they took the next two sets 25-18, 25-17 to win the match.

The loss dropped Andover to the third-place match, where it handled Garden City 25-22, 25-14 to finish third overall.

Andover’s record to this point in the season is a strong 12-3. Head coach Andrea Daugherty has been happy to see the Trojans’ more experienced players step into their leadership roles.

“Olivia Hessman carries quite a bit of leadership for out team,” Daugherty said. “She is a solid figure that helps drive our team forward. She has helped us through tough matches like Maize at Hutch and Maize South last Tuesday in Ark City.”

Offensively, Daugherty said that Isabelle Reynolds has picked up the reigns as the team’s go-to hitter again this season. She leads the team with 102 kills in just 15 matches, just under seven kills per match.

Julie Graves has been doing her thing defensively to lead the back row. She covers quite a bit of court and makes tough plays look routine. She already has 218 digs this season, more than 14 digs per match.

Some of the younger players have been stepping us, as well.

“Korynn Haetten is a new middle for us. She working hard on defense and a disciplined blocker.  She currently has the highest hitting percentage on the team,” Daugherty said.