In its final triangular before sub-state on Saturday, the Manhattan High volleyball team swept Wamego and won in three against host Junction City, while playing some of its best volleyball of the month.
The Indians opened against Wamego with a 25-20, 25-23 win before defeating Junction City 26-24, 20-25, 25-19 to end the regular season with a pair of wins and a big confidence boost heading into the weekend.
“I was happy for the seniors to end the regular season this way, since we had struggled,” MHS head coach Lisa Kinderknecht said. “They did a great job and we’re looking forward to Saturday. Hopefully we keep the momentum going.”
Against Junction City, which won the two teams’ last meeting at the Manhattan Invitational, the match went back and forth. The Indians took the first set in a close one before giving up the set and much of the momentum in the second. But the Indians answered the call in the third set.
“I was a little concerned, just because the momentum swung their way and they had a good student section,” she said. “But that was the grittiest set they’ve played all year. They really stuck it out.”
Kinderknecht said her team managed to get over the hump and limit its own mistakes, both things that have held them back this month.
“They served well that set and our block came around and with the passing, Aubrey (Jung) was doing a great job,” she said. “We weren’t timid in our swings, which was nice, because that’s a little bit of what went wrong in the second set. Nobody wanted to make mistakes.”
Lauren Goralcyzk and Kaci Cink led with 14 kills apiece. Goralcyzk and Jessie Kujawa each finished with five solo blocks.
Kinderknecht was especially pleased with the play of her back row Tuesday. Aubrey Jung led with 58 assists, with Allie Massanet adding 35 digs. Colbi Brooks had 13 digs and Maddie Winkler had 12.
“The back row played a lot better tonight,” Kinderknecht said. “Our serve receive was better, so that helped our cause a lot.”
All in all, it was a good showing for the Indians before sub-state on Saturday. Manhattan’s seed is still up in the air, but the wins may have put it in position to earn a No. 3 seed, which would likely pit the Indians against host-school Junction City.
Sub-state brackets are set to be released today, but must wait on each coach to submit its record so the tournament manager can seed teams accordingly.