The Leavenworth Pioneers volleyball team celebrated their senior players on Thursday night in a triangular with Lawrence Free State and Paola.

The Pioneers faced the Paola Panthers first.

The Panthers and Pioneers started the match close, but the Pioneers started to pull away to win 25-17.

Paola would have more success at the start of the second set, but the Pioneers pulled away again to win 25-20 and get the sweep in the first match.

After the Lawrence Free State and Paola game, the five seniors were honored. 

This year’s seniors are Faith Wright, Jessie Sachen, Grace Miller, Maya Raney-Johnson and Michaela McBride. 

The five were escorted by their families while statements by each girl were read aloud filled with advice and thank yous to friends and family.

The Pioneers fell behind early to Free State down 13-7 at one point in the first set and would eventually fall 25-18.

In the second set, both teams played closer. 

The two schools traded the lead back and forth before Free State would pull away at the end winning the second set 25-20.

The Pioneers finished the night with a 1-1 record as the regular season comes to a close.

Despite the outcome, head coach Cassie Rockers was more proud of the team’s fight in the Free State game.

“We didn’t play our best against Paola,” Rockers said. “We got a win but it was not the hardest that I think we could have played. Free State is a really good team. They are ranked right now and have a lot of good hitters. This is the best we have played cohesively as a team all the way around.”

Rockers said that she hopes to take the momentum of the strong play in the Free State loss as the team prepares for substate next week. 

The Pioneers will have over a week to prepare for the tournament and get ready for the 6A schools the team will face after reclassification in September bumped Leavenworth back up to 6A again.