GODDARD, KANSAS – The Andover Trojan volleyball team is entering the 2020 season with a mix of experience and youth. One thing is certain, after winning three of four matches at the AVCTL Preseason Tournament at Goddard Eisenhower on Saturday, they do have a talented bunch. It is simply a matter of fine tuning some things.
Andover finished the day 3-1 to start the season.
"(The) effort is great, communication is great," Andover head coach Holly Avalos said. "For the most part, I’m worried about our defense and our blocking and I think once we can tighten that up, we will be solid."
Eisenhower 2, Andover 1
Andover started the day with a match against the host Eisenhower Tigers. The Trojans started quick with a 4-0 lead and built their largest lead of the opening set at 16-8. But then Eisenhower found a rhythm and worked their way back to a 20-20 tie. The teams traded points until the Tigers secured the final two points of the set to take it 25-23.
The Trojans responded well in the second set with a 9-0 spurt, and extended the lead to 15-1. Eisenhower tried to come back again, but the deficit was too much to overcome and Andover won the second set 25-18 to set up a winner-take-all third set.
In the third set, Eisenhower was the team to establish control and they did not allow Andover to respond. The Tigers won 25-18 for the two sets to one victory.
Andover 2, Liberal 0
The Trojans next faced the Liberal Lady Red. Liberal led 3-1 in the opening set before Andover assumed control of the opening set, slowly building a lead and finishing strong for the 25-18 win.
It would be more of the same in the second set as the Trojans led most of the way, winning 25-17 to capture the match in straight sets.
Andover 2, Maize South 1
With about a 90 minute break following the win over Liberal, Andover began focusing on the next challenge, the Maize South Mavericks, who would enter this matchup undefeated. The Trojan players knew they had to play with a sense of urgency.
The first set featured eleven ties, but Maize South built a 15-9 lead and it seemed that the momentum was on their side. The Trojans, had other ideas. Andover responded immediately with a 6-0 run to tie the set at 15. The teams were knotted at 20 before the Trojans broke through with another 5-0 spurt to capture the set.
The Mavericks pulled away in the second set to win 25-18. This time though, Andover would not be denied in the decisive set.
The Trojans executed well with their attack and defense, building a 17-10 lead. The Mavericks would respond with a run, closing within 22-21. But a huge block at the net by senior Kate Ralston gave Andover a two-point lead and took the wind out of Maize South. Andover would take the next two points for a 25-21 win and a two sets to one victory.
"I was so determined to win," Andover senior Bethanne Lenz said in reference to the matchup with Maize South. "I thought our energy was so good during the game and I’m really proud of my team."
Andover 2, Goddard 0
Andover finished the day at Eisenhower with a straight sets victory over Goddard (25-14, 25-13) to finish the season-opening event with a 3-1 record. Ralston and junior southpaw MayaMay Brown racked up the kills and overall the Trojans were pleased with how they finished.
"I think we just all worked together," Ralston said. "The energy just came up after that first game because we said we are not going to lose again."