HUTCHINSON — The Circle Thunderbirds knew they wanted to play another day and did whatever it took on Friday to get there. After felling to tournament regular, Topeka Hayden in the second match, Circle used three sets to beat second-seeded Independence to advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

Circle began the day by beating Eudora in straight sets. The most intriguing part of the match was Circle overcoming a 10-6 deficit early in the second set to take the match.

Then, in their second match, Circle ran into the buzzsaw that in Topeka Hayden and were dispatched in straight sets 25-12, 25-19. 

They had a couple of matches off before finally starting their last match, two hours past the scheduled start time. Independence had already lost to Hayden and this became a play-in match.

Circle took the first set 25-18 but were tripped up in their next set, falling 25-22. The third set was much like the sets Circle have played this year, dominating and with the Thunderbirds focused in on the win. Circle won 25-16 to move to Saturday’s matches.

They’ll play Andale, the No. 1 seed in Class 4A. Andale went 3-0 only dropping one set, a 28-26 decision to Nickerson.

in the other semifinal, it will be Topeka Hayden playing Louisburg. Both teams are perennial state appearances and know what it takes to get to the next match. Last season Louisburg finished fourth in Class 4A.

both semifinal matches tip-off at 1 p.m. at the Sports Arena in Hutchinson, Kansas. 

The Championship match and third place match will also be played simultaneously approximately 15 minutes after the ending of the semifinal matches.

Circle is now 35-7 on the season.