HESSTON — When Hesston High’s volleyball team and Nickerson met earlier this season, it was a tense struggle for the Swathers.
Not so on Tuesday.
The Swathers polished off the Panthers 25-19, 25-9 after they had defeated Smoky Valley 25-7, 25-10 to start the day. Nickerson defeated Smoky Valley 25-11, 25-11 in the other match.
Hesston is now 11-1 on the season and the two matches were the first in the Central Kansas League that counted.
“We have struggled with some inconsistency and tentativeness the past week, and were hoping to have a strong outing tonight to start CKL league play,” Hesston coach Jason Peters said. “We played well against Smoky Valley with only one passing error and two hitting errors the whole match.”
The Swathers were especially focused in the Nickerson match, knowing they were playing a team with state aspirations.
“We stepped up to play very well against Nickerson, a team that we edged out in three sets at the preseason tournament” Peters said. “We made some mistakes in the first set and Nickerson found holes in our defense that we didn’t adjust to quickly, but we kept attacking and never let them catch up after we got an early lead. We served well, 98 percent overall, and were able to keep them out of system quite a bit, which helped our defense. We hit 0.451 for the match with only 5 hitting errors and passed better on serve receive, although we still had quite a few passes that were off the net. The difference tonight is that our hitters stayed aggressive and were still able to get good swings off those balls and score points. We get a much-needed week to practice after 12 matches in the first week-and-a-half of the season.”
Kailey Jo Ince had 24 kills to lead the offense, which was set up by Alaina Dunlavy’s 53 assists. Mia Loganbill led in digs with 12, one more than Dunlavy.
Hesston, one of the busiest teams in the state, finally gets a week off as its next action is Tuesday at Larned.
Smoky Valley is off to a 1-9 start, but has played a tough schedule.
“We have got past a couple hard teams and are looking forward to working hard as we come up on some more league matches,” Smoky Valley coach Krissa Dearden said. “Keeping our heads up as the girls are finding their place on the court and as a team.”