HESSTON — If the Central Kansas League Preseason Volleyball Tournament is any indication, nothing much has changed this season.
Defending league champion Hillsboro — also the defending Class 2A state champion — rattled through the tournament undefeated to claim the title, but needed three sets to turn back the game challenge of Sterling (25-16, 19-25, 25-21). The Trojans earlier had to survive a three-setter with Pratt, so maybe the gap is closing.
Hillsboro had won pool matches against Kingman (25-20, 26-24) and Lyons (25-14, 25-8). In bracket play, the Trojans defeated Smoky Valley (25-20, 25-9) and Pratt (25-16, 23-25, 25-14) to advance to the finals.
Tourney host Hesston dominated Pratt 25-19, 25-13 to take third place. Earlier, the Swathers were 2-0 in pool play with successes against Smoky Valley (25-17 twice) and Larned (25-20, 25-10).
The Swathers then mowed down Kingman (25-13, 25-15), but were upended by Sterling (20-25, 21-25) in the winner’s bracket semifinals. They wound up 4-1 on the day.
Smoky Valley was 1-1 in its pool, with the win coming against Larned (25-14, 26-24). In the quarterfinals, the Vikes lost to Hillsboro, but came back to defeat Haven (25-22, 25-16). Smoky finished the day 2-3 for sixth place after losing to Kingman (26-24, 22-25, 12-25).