Monday, 10 May 2021
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Sabetha Brings Home First Ever State Volleyball Championship
By Jake W Spalding
Copyright: MSC Sports

Hutchinson, KS

The Sabetha Lady Bluejays stepped onto the state tournament floor in volleyball for the first time since 1999 on Saturday as the #1 ranked team in Class 3A and the #1 seed in the tournament. This year's state tournament looked a little different with quarterfinal action being played this past Tuesday where Sabetha knocked off Perry Lecompton 3-0 to advance to pool play in Hutchinson. Sabetha would be guaranteed a spot in the semifinals for the first time in program history while also looking to bring home their first ever state championship.


Sabetha started the day against the second seeded Lady Vikings from Smoky Valley. A match that would give us a preview of how pool play would go for the Lady Jays as Sabetha would find ways to dominate in straight sets. Sabetha would use a 9-3 run to close out the first set victorious 25-23 and carry that momentum into the second set rolling to a 25-16 victory to take the match. The second match of the day had Sabetha facing off against West Franklin, the #3 seed in the tournament and the Lady Jays would sweep the Lady Falcons in 2 straight sets 25-22 and 25-18. The final match in pool play had Sabetha squaring off against the fourth seeded Cowgirls of Goodland. Sabetha continued their hot streak taking this match again in straight sets 25-17 and 25-16. The Lady Jays offensive attack was phenomenal leaning on Senior hitters Camryn Wessel, Leah Renyer, Melinna Schumann and Sophomore Mary Lukert. Junior Emily Krebs handled the volleyball to perfection assisting Sabetha's hitters making it easy for Sabetha's attack. Defensively the Lady Jays were tenacious at the net led by Wessel, Renyer, Schumann, Lukert and Senior Erin Deters dominating the net making it difficult for their opponents throughout the day. Krebs and Junior Kendall Edelman were responsible for setting the Jays rotation in motion when defense turned to offense as Sabetha completed pool play with a perfect 6-0 record.


The Lady Jay's would have a rematch with Goodland in the one versus four match up with the winner moving to the state title match. Just as Sabetha did in pool play, using an aggressive attack with tough defense at the net, the Jay's dominated the Cowgirls in straight sets 25-13, 25-21. Sabetha would jump out early in set one and lead by as many as fourteen in the set led by Renyer who tallied seven kills. In the second set Goodland fought Sabetha well early and often as it went back and forth exchanging points with neither team able to extend their lead by more than just a couple. Sabetha would use scrappy defense and claim just about every 50/50 volley throughout the set. On the final point Goodland's Jaxi Mitchek thought she had a kill, but once again the Jays hustle proved supreme as Wessel chased down a ball off of Edelman and allowed Lukert a chance with the third hit. It would fall just over net and land in front of Lindsey Cure for the decisive point propelling Sabetha to their first ever state title match.



After cruising in straight sets all day, Sabetha would face Smoky Valley in a rematch from the first action of the day. Sabetha would jump up early and maintain a lead throughout the opening set on the arms of Wessel and Schumann. Smoky Valley had no answer for the Jay's, while struggling at the net and committing five service errors in the set, as Sabetha took set one 25-19. In the second set Smoky Valley came out with a different mentality and took the early 6-4 lead on Sabetha as Junior Abigail Rose came to life leading the Vikings with 11 kills in the set. Sabetha would battle back late in the set to make it interesting, tying the set at 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 before Smoky Valley would score the next two points to take set two 27-25.


The third and final set was a fun one. Neither team wanting to bow to the other, as a state title was up for grabs. Sabetha had not gone the distance all day, while Smoky Valley was now in their third match of the day that would go three sets. The Lady Vikings rode the momentum from the second set to jump out early in the third 4-1, but Sabetha battled back to take a 6-4 lead. That would be the largest lead Sabetha would have until the very end of the set. Smoky Valley would battle back once again alternating points with the Jays and pulling back even on four different occasions, before the Vikings started to separate away from Sabetha. Leading 16-15, Smoky Valley would go on a 4-2 run to lead 20-17 when Coach Abby Stueve called her first timeout of the set and it would prove to be a much need time for Sabetha to refocus. Out of the timeout, each team would tack on a point before Sabetha would go on a 5-0 run to lead 23-21 late in the set. Smoky Valley would call timeout and see Renyer have a kill go too strong out of play to pull the Vikings within one point. They would alternate points as Sabetha would get to twenty four on a lift from Smoky Valley, as the Vikings hung around after a kill from Abigail Rose leave it as a Sabetha lead of 24-23. The final point of the night would go the Jays in a way that is fitting for their 2020 season, defensive dominance. Erin Deters stuffed Rose's kill attempt as Sabetha would celebrate their first ever state title, taking set three 25-23 to win the match 2-1.

A group of kids that said they love playing for coach Stueve, love practices and love each other were not on anyone's radar at the beginning of the season. Returning just two varsity experienced players from a season ago, this group of Lady Jays fought, clawed and found ways to win when nobody expected them to early. Throughout the season they continued to prove the doubters wrong, knocking off the defending state champions Royal Valley in the regular season and in the sub state championship match. Winning the Big Seven League with ease and doing it all with smiles on their faces. Coach Stueve said she never doubted this team could bring a championship home, it was on them to make it happen, and they did just that. Finishing the year with a school record 41 wins to just one loss, bringing home a state championship for the first time in school history and memories that will last a lifetime. 2020 has been a dark year for many around the world, but in Northeast Kansas on Halloween night, things seemed a little brighter as Sabetha takes the 3A State Championship trophy home.

©2021 MSC Sports
Hiawatha, KS 66434
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