With postseason play coming up, the Marion High School volleyball team set the stage for a substate run by claiming the Heart of American League tournament crown Saturday at Marion Sports and Aquatics Center.
The Lady Warriors didn’t fare well in their previous tournament at Belle Plaine, but came into the tournament confident from their regular season success over league foes.
They took care of Bennington at the outset with little trouble, winning 25-15, 25-12. Remington proved to be a tussle in the first set, which Marion won 25-20, but couldn’t keep up in the second, losing 25-13.
However, Inman handed Marion its first match loss of pool play, prevailing in two hard-fought sets 25-17, 25-22.
The Lady Warriors matched up against 3-0 Berean Academy in the final round of pool place, with the winner advancing to semifinals. In two seesaw battles, Marion scored timely small flurries of points to win 25-20, 25-22, and advance.
As runner-up in their pool, the Lady Warriors faced 4-0 Sedgwick next. After controlling the first set 25-17, Marion couldn’t shake Sedgwick in the second, but secured a spot in the final by winning 25-23.
Trinity Catholic was an upset winner over Inman in the other semifinal.
The championship match was the most closely contested one of the tournament, with both games having stretches where the teams traded point after point. But the Lady Warriors never appeared rattled when falling behind, and their perseverance paid off with a 25-23, 25-23 win for the championship.
“That’s just how we are,” hitter Shelby Felvus said. “We never get too high, we never get too low. It really ends up benefiting us. We need to get more excited sometimes, but when we get down, which doesn’t happen very often, we gather ourselves and find points.”
Coach Brea Campbell said that the team’s all-around play made it difficult to pick anyone who was a standout.
“It really depends on what game you’re talking about,” she said. “Everybody stepped up at some point during the day.”
The Lady Warriors will head to Riley County High School Saturday for substate tournament action, and Campbell looks to prepare by keeping an even keel.
“I’m going to try to keep stuff the same; I don’t want to get crazy,” Campbell said. “If we tried to mix stuff around and change too many things then we’re going to get psyched out. These girls just need to keep playing. This is a great team and they deserve to go far at substate.”