ANDOVER, KANSAS – The Andover Trojans fell to the Newton Railers in three sets in a tough sub-state Championship on Saturday at Andover Central High School, ending their season.
The Trojans, who dealt with injuries and an influx of youth after going to the state tournament each of the last four seasons finally saw their run end but not without hope for the future.
"We still have a lot of youth," Andover head coach Holly Avalos said. "I think half our roster will be returning next year."
Andover took care of fourth seeded Emporia in straight sets to set up the eventual loss to Newton, the sub-state’s second seeded team.
"We lost to them on Tuesday," Avalos said. "We knew would have to be ready in this one."
Newton wasted little time putting the Trojans on their heels, jump up early in the first set 5-1 before Andover finally was able to grab their bearings.
After dropping the first set 25-22, the Trojans responded in the second set when Caleigh Haetten had three straight service points to give them the lead for the first time in the set.
After an Andover timeout, they would push out on an 8-2 run, giving them a 20-16 lead and would eventually close out the set 25-20, setting up the decisive third set.
Newton jumped on Andover early in the third set, going up 13-6, mainly off the service of freshman libero, Abigail Koontz.
Andover made a push, fighting back on six straight points and eventually took the lead 21-20, forcing a Newton into a timeout.
Newton came out and set up an Asha Regier on a kill and then after Andover had been hitting soft shots to steal points, Newton adjusted and made the Trojans pay.
"Credit to Newton who adjusted at the right time," Avalos said.
Though the season is over, they will return seven players off a team that went 25-6 this season.
"We went through a lot this season and they never quit," Avalos said. "I’m proud of them."