The Manhattan High volleyball team has been here before.
Opening its season at the Topeka Seaman quadrangular, the Indians came away with a 1-2 record, just as they have the last two seasons under head coach Lisa Kinderknecht.
“This was a great stepping stone for us, though it is too bad we couldn’t get over the hump and earn a couple of league wins,” she said. “But in my tenure here as coach, we’ve always gone 1-2 at this first quad, and those seasons both turned out pretty well.”
Manhattan won its first match against Silver Lake in two sets, 25-21 and 25-23, before losing a pair of three-set matches to Shawnee Heights and Topeka Seaman.
In the win against Silver Lake, sophomore Kelsey Schroll stepped in for the injured Jessie Kujawa and performed well in her varsity debut, leading the team with six solo blocks.
“Kelsey came and in did great,” Kinderknecht said. “She hadn’t really even practiced with varsity lately, so that was good. I think she had six kills against Silver Lake.”
In the second match, Manhattan won the first set against Shawnee Heights 25-22, but fell in the next two with identical scores of 25-22, though the silver lining was that everyone that made the trip got the chance to play.
“The team itself is relatively new,” she said. “We have seven seniors, but as far as playing together, they’re still new. But we did get the chance to play all 12 girls, so that was good.”
In the final match of the night, the Indians fell to Topeka Seaman 30-28, 20-25, 20-25.
“I thought we passed about as well as we could have passed, so that was a positive,” she said. “Our back row played really well all night. They dug up some really tough balls. We also had good serve receive.”
Junior Kaci Cink led the Indians on the night with 26 kills. Right behind her was Lauren Goralczyk with 23 kills to go with four solo blocks.
Setter Aubrey Jung led the way with 64 assists and 26 digs.
Defensive specialist Allie Massanet led the team with 57 digs to go with four service aces. Sophomore Mattie Mahan had 21 digs.
Serving the ball, Colbi Brooks led with six aces, while Maddie Winkler added four.
In the end, despite the two losses, Kinderknecht was pleased with her team’s effort to start the season.
“Everybody contributed and our night was not short on effort,” she said. “The team gave 110 percent out there.”
The Indians travel to Shawnee Mission South Saturday for a tournament. Their first match is scheduled for 9 a.m.