It wasn’t the storybook ending the team was hoping for, but the Manhattan High volleyball team had no reason to hang their heads after a tough series of matches at the Class 6A state tournament in Topeka on Friday.
The Indians lost all three of their matches on the day, starting with two set losses to third-seeded Blue Valley Northwest (25-15, 25-10) and second-seeded Blue Valley (25-14, 25-20), before dropping a tough match to seventh-seeded Maize (25-22, 24-26, 25-21) in three sets.
“It was disappointing — we could never get in system in that first match, and it kind of set the tone, because then we went up against a very difficult Blue Valley team,” Manhattan head coach Lisa Kinderknecht said. “We played better and our passing got better through the day, but we couldn’t ever get into our groove those first two matches.
“We came back and played pretty well against Maize, we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Despite the tough day at state, Kinderknecht knows one difficult day against the state’s best teams doesn’t define her team’s season.
“This wasn’t a reflection of our year,” she said. “We struggled somewhat, but the team battled through and never gave up. They left everything on the floor and that’s all I can ask for of that group of girls.”
Statistically, Manhattan was led by Jessie Kujawa with 18 kills, with Kelsey Schroll adding 14 and six blocks. Lauren Goralczyk had 15 kills, with Kaci Cink logging nine.
Aubrey Jung had 57 assists and 17 digs, with Matty Mahan leading the way with 46 digs. Madi Fief had 21 digs, and Savannah Roberts chipping in nine.
With the season over, Kinderknecht’s first class of four-year players will depart, leaving a strong legacy behind.
“The seniors are leaving a great legacy, and the team as a whole is a really tight unit,” she said. “They won the games this year together and they lost games together. They should be proud of everything they accomplished.”
Manhattan finishes the year with a 28-14 record.