Things have improved for the Leavenworth High volleyball team this fall, if only for the sense of camaraderie the senior class has felt all, campaign long.
After years of toil to attempt to be a reputable squad, what has meant more than anything, is the sense of togetherness the Pioneer girls have forged during this 2017 campaign.
On Thursday night, four years of memories working themselves to become the leaders they are today came flooding back for five seniors who saw their regular season, home careers for the Pioneers come to an end against visiting Olathe North.
Seniors Katelyn Blackburn, Jazmine McBurney, Randi Raymos, Alaine Sloan and Hannah Wagner didn’t go out the way they would have wanted to on the scoreboard, dropping a 3-0 (25-22, 25-11, 25-18) decision to North to move to 7-18 overall this season.
However, Wagner appreciated that her team didn’t give up the fight.
“I feel like we fought pretty hard on some of the sets and we have been playing a lot harder each and every game and we are improving little by little,” Wagner said. “I have had fun coming back (since recovering from an injury) and playing with the girls. All the seniors have had a good connection and work together really well. It’s been a really fun season.
“We can still make improvements, but it can still be pretty good. We want to win sub-state.”
Wagner (six kills, three aces), Raymos (eight kills, 11 assists), Ayden Bartlett (11 assists. nine digs) and Jessica Sachen (14 digs) led the Pioneers in the match.
LVHS trailed big in the first set, but fought back to within 23-22 before North pulled out the win.
“We started out strong and in the first set we fought, that is something we struggle with sometimes,” LVHS head coach Cassandra Rockers said. “We dug out of that hole we were in and caught back up. That time we got ourselves back in it, which was a plus.
The second set? Didn’t go quite as well.
“That’s what we are working on: (Fixing) the rollercoaster, the mentality and mistakes and not wanting to make mistakes,” Rockers said. “We have focused all season on cutting down errors on our side of the net, taking care of what we need to take care of and not focusing on who is on the other side of the net. We focus about what we need to do to beat the other, but not who it is in particular.”
Rockers also wanted to acknowledge the seniors and what they have meant so far to Leavenworth.
“This is a great group of girls that we have, they have been with us from the start,” Rockers said. “They put in a lot of work and they wanted to do everything they can to be successful this year. You can see it. They have heart, they have desire, they push each other every day. It’s going to be hard to lose them since we have been more of a family this season.”