Volleyball advances to state after entering sub-state as #5 seed

Jacob Meseke | @Jacob_Meseke

For a third year in a row, Charger volleyball is headed to state.

It’s the Charger’s seventh state appearance in nine seasons.

“Our program has been building all decade,” coach Tracy Capoun said. “I attribute that to the hard work our girls, parents and others put in during and outside of the season. They have a passion for the sport and seek out opportunities to play and get better all year long.”

On Saturday, the team won Sub-State at Herington. In the first round the Chargers beat Washington County 25-21 and 25-22. The Chargers beat Herington in a thrilling three set match 25-18, 13-25, and 25-23. In the finals, the Chargers faced Valley Heights and won 25-22 and 25-21. 

In a strange season, a return to the state tournament was never guaranteed. “After a few of our players had to quarantine and miss some games, it was tough. Not only do you have a new dynamic and players on the court for a couple weeks, we had to try and pick up where we were with the quarantined players after missing two weeks of practice,” Capoun said. “It’s a mental and team shift when you’re playing with different groups of people. We had a lot of younger players step up, during the quarantine which was also one or our toughest times of the season MEL play.”

Despite setbacks during the season, Capoun said the team was playing well at the right time. 

“I felt good about going into the Sub-State though. We were finally starting to get our groove back from that mid-season interruption.”

The volleyball team celebrates after defeating Valley Heights Saturday to secure a trip back to state. “We were really an underdog going into the tournament, so it was a big deal to beat two ranked teams,” libero Kaelyn Conrad said. Photo by Alexus Ford.

The players were excited to continue the program’s success. “It was a big year for us to prove people wrong,” junior Lauren Schutter siad. “A lot of people expected us to have a down year after losing a lot of seniors, and I’m glad to show that we can continue the tradition.”

The Chargers travel to Jefferson County North tonight to play in the State quarterfinal. The game will be a best 3 out of 5 sets. A win will send the Chargers to the state tournament in Dodge City Friday. The Chargers are 26-10 on the season and Jefferson County North is 32-5.

“Jeff Co North has been a pretty consistent team the last few years. We played them last year at state. The top programs in the state are pretty consistently showing up during our post-season play or are ranked during the season. We have seen many of the same teams back at state the last 2 years,’ Capoun said.

The game is available to stream on Zoom (Meeting ID: 382 870 1134, Passcode: 272064). It starts at 6 p.m.

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