Hosting its first meet of the season against Clay Center and Rossville, the Manhattan High volleyball team swept both matches in two sets to bolster its record and prepare for another tough weekend tournament.
Manhattan defeated Clay Center 25-21, 25-23 in the first match before beating Rossville 25-12, 25-5 in the second match.
Starting the night with Clay Center, Manhattan had its hands full in both sets, facing five-point deficits in each before pulling out the victory.
“Clay Center was good, and we got down in each set, kind of our M.O. from last year,” Manhattan coach Lisa Kinderknecht said. “What was different is we came back and finished it. My biggest thing for that is if Clay Center or any other team earns their points, they earn their points. We just can’t have unforced errors. We have to clean it up and make them make the mistakes.”
Manhattan (6-4) got an 11-kill performance from Jessie Kujawa in the Clay Center match, with Kaci Cink adding seven kills and Kelsey Schroll chipping in five kills. Matty Mahan had nine digs, while Aubrey Jung had 28 assists. Lauren Goralczyk had two aces on 13 serves while sophomore Madi Fief had 11 serves and one ace, with four digs.
“We had decent serving and we quickened our game up because of our pass,” Kinderknecht said. “We had really good passing in that match. Because of that, Aubrey was able to make some quicker sets, and our hitters responded. Obviously Jessie really did with 11 kills.”
Against Rossville, Manhattan had an easier time, especially in the second set. The Bulldogs had trouble receiving the serve, which led to less kills and more aces.
“Our servers were ticking the bench off, because they weren’t getting to rotate in,” Kinderknecht said. “But that’s OK with me, and I think it’s OK with the bench too. We didn’t have a lot of attacks, but it’s not always a terrible thing.”
Cink led with five kills against Rossville, with Kujawa right behind with four. Michaela Braun and Goralczyk each had three kills.
Mahan had nine digs in the second match, while Jung had 10 assists and served 18 times in the match with two aces. Erika Hairgrove had two aces in five serves.
Against the Bulldogs, Manhattan gave up three straight points to start the first set but eventually pulled away, taking a 15-7 lead. In the second set, the Indians were dominant from start to finish, taking a 12-2 lead and a 23-3 lead before finishing it off.
“Rossville, they hung in there, but really our serving was pretty darn good,” Kinderknecht said. “That’s a key for us, too. Serve receive is a tough thing. Once somebody shanks one, or two, you can tell they don’t want it coming back to them, and more than likely, it’s going to come back to them.”
This weekend, Manhattan travels to Topeka to play in a tournament at Hayden. The Indians are in a pod with Hayden, Mill Valley and KC Ward.
“We like that tournament,” Kinderknecht said. “It’s a long day because they only run two courts, but it’s a fun tournament. Very competitive, so we’ll have to play well.”