Mission: accomplished! Top-seeded Trojans cruise to 2A state title
Take a stroll down memory lane to the final weekend of October a year ago.
The setting: the Class 2A state volleyball tournament’s title game between the Hillsboro Trojans and the Smith Center Lady Red at Dodge City’s United Wireless Arena.
The Lady Red had defeated the Trojans in pool play, but Hillsboro bounced back to get another crack at Smith Center in the final.
It was not to be, however, with the Red topping Hillsboro, 25-23 and 25-12.
Trojan coach Sandy Arnold and her young team vowed they’d be back this year, but this time the shoe would be on the other foot, and Hillsboro would leave a wave of destruction.
Hillsboro did just that, dropping only one match early to Class 4A third-place finisher Circle en route to going unbeaten all the way to Saturday’s championship in a rematch with Smith Center.
The Trojans’ final mark of 44-1 is one of the greatest finishes in school history by one of Hillsboro’s best teams.
“Our girls were intense and focused, and I couldn’t have asked them to follow the game plan any better,” an ecstatic Arnold said. “They were enthusiastic and played with a passion and desire that couldn’t be denied. Everyone brought their special skill and more, and that is what allowed us to win it all.”
Friday’s pool play didn’t offer a lot of familiarity for Hillsboro. The Trojans didn’t face a ton of Class 2A competition throughout the season.
However, game film allowed Arnold to diagnose what it would take to vanquish everyone in Hillsboro’s pool.
Not one opponent lasted more than two sets with the Trojans, who tore through Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan, Meade, and perhaps their toughest challenger of the weekend, third-place finisher Jefferson-North.
The Inman Lady Teutons were the last team with a chance to cancel Hillsboro’s vengeance tour but to no avail.
There’d be no denying the Trojans this year with all of Arnold’s weapons blazing as Hillsboro took out the Red, 25-12 and 25-13.
Arnold credited her team for the championship with Zaylee Werth, Savannah Shahan, Kori Arnold, D’Myia Cox, Kinzley Ratzlaff, Ella Suderman, Kirsten Kluver, Ainslee and Keeley Brewer, Makenna Reed, Lauryn Vogt, and Talia Jost making huge contributions throughout the record-setting season.
“I can’t even tell you how proud I am of these girls — all 12 of them,” Arnold said. “Our focus the last couple of weeks has been ‘be the best at getting better’ by doing the little things better than any other team.
“Our practices are competitive and purposeful, and I feel very fortunate to have such a great group who work hard every day, have great chemistry, and make each other better. I have been coaching these girls since they were in 2nd grade, and they are very special to my heart, and I thank them for a very special season.”
Graduation will take its toll on the Trojans with Arnold, Cox, Kluver, Suderman, Keeley Brewer, and Reed, on track to graduate, but with experienced underclassmen returning, Hillsboro shouldn’t fall far.
Last modified Nov. 2, 2022