Jasmine Johnson charged through her teammates and dove through chairs on the sideline. Ruth Schinstock nearly sprinted half the distance of the gymnasium, from the middle to the outside wall. Alyx Glessner lunged into the bleachers.
All of these things happened during points the Manhattan High volleyball team won on Tuesday night, going 2-1 in the school’s quad meet involving Highland Park, Emporia and No. 2 Washburn Rural.
The Indians played some of their best volleyball of the season on Tuesday, head coach Krista Skucius said. Manhattan dominated Highland Park in the first match, 25-8, 25-7, came from behind in both set victories against Emporia, 25-22, 28-26, and claimed the first set against one of the best schools in the state, Washburn Rural, 25-23, 14-25, 15-25.
“That (set against Washburn Rural) was probably one of the better sets that we’ve played this season,” Skucius said after the quad. “It’s good to see at this time of the year, because it means we are peaking and doing things well and getting better.”
Skucius added that she was pleased with her team’s ability to stay focused and take each set one point at a time. That allowed Manhattan to do what it does best — like what seniors Johnson and Schinstock and junior Glessner did. Make plays.
“That is something we replicate in practice,” Skucius said. “We do drills that work on being able to make plays, because that’s kind of been our thing. We are good at making plays and getting balls that other teams don’t normally get.”
The playmaking ability played a role in the set victory against Washburn Rural, but was most prominent against Emporia in the second match of the night. Manhattan trailed 13-10 midway through the first set against the Spartans before coming back, and was down 24-20 in the second set.
The Indians battled back, fighting off match point on four separate occasions to get the win.
“Because we are so fast and we get touches, what we practice is executing off that,” Skucius said. “So we do train how to make big plays off them.”
The difficulty in matching up against Washburn Rural was the size differential. The Blues have four players over 6 feet tall, putting significant pressure on Manhattan juniors Bonnie Hegarty and Chloe Robison to block.
“We had bigger swings during that set than we had all year,” Skucius said. “Like Chloe and Bonnie, they were swinging against girls that were 6-foot-2. We were putting it at the 10-foot line, which is amazing against blockers like that.”
The Indians host another invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday at Manhattan High. After a 2-1 outing Tuesday, Skucius feels confident in her team.
“We know what we are capable of doing,” Skucius said. “It’s just about making sure we do it more often. I was really pleased and the girls were really pleased with how we played.”
Wamego volleyball loses 2 to Abilene
Wamego High’s volleyball team also played at home Tuesday. It didn’t go as well for the Lady Raiders as it did for the Indians, however.
Wamego’s varsity squad dropped both matches it played against Abilene, losing the first 31-29, 25-11. It was more competitive in the second match, with Abilene taking the first set 25-13 before Wamego rallied to win Set 2 26-24. But Abilene was victorious in the end, winning the final set 25-21.
MHS over Highland Park – 25-22, 28-26
MHS over Emporia – 5-22, 28-26
Washburn Rural over MHS – 25-23, 14-25, 15-25
Abilene over Wamego, 31-29, 25-11
Abilene over Wamego, 25-13, 24-26, 25-21
Abilene over Wamego, 25-17, 25-19
Abilene over Wamego, 26-24, 25-13
Abilene over Wamego, 25-13, 25-22
Abilene over Wamego, 25-22, 25-15