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State volleyball - Logan hangs on to qualify

By NICK SCHWIEN

nschwien@dailynews.net

There sat Robin Van Laeys, leaning against the wall inside Gross Memorial Coliseum, writing away on her small clipboard.

The Logan High School volleyball coach was busy crunching the math to see what needed to happen if their pool ended in a three-way tie at the Class 1A Division II state tournament Friday night.

The coach knew what needed to happen to avoid a tie-breaker scenario. When Argonia disposed of Sharon Springs, her Trojans were headed -- without tie-breaker criteria -- into Saturday's semifinals.

"We knew coming in we had to win two ball games," Van Laeys said. "Your chances of advancing are really slim if you don't win two."

Logan (26-13) advanced to the semifinals with a 2-1 record, second only in the pool to Argonia, which went a perfect 3-0. That gave the Trojans the No. 2 seed, where they would face two-time defending champ Baileyville-B&B in the semis. Argonia advanced to play Dighton.

"Pretty sweet," Van Laeys said. "Man, Argonia played great defense against us. We felt like we hit the ball well and just couldn't get it down. We're excited to have the opportunity to be here tomorrow."

Logan started the tournament with a three-game loss to Argonia but got things back on track against Sharon Springs. The Trojans took down the second-seeded Wildcats, 28-26, 25-23.

Van Laeys' team needed to rally in both games.

"And coming back from that in rally scoring, it's crazy," Van Laeys said. "In the locker room before we started, I told them I've seen so many things in my years. ... It's never over until it's done."

The loss was disappointing to the Wildcats, who finished the day with a 1-2 record.

"We were up by eight the first game and 10 the second and couldn't pull it off," said Sharon Spring coach Paulette Unruh. "That's tough in volleyball."

Logan entered the tourney as the sixth seed, and the pivotal match against Sharon Springs (35-6) meant a little more for the Van Laeys family. Her husband is from Sharon Springs.

"That was huge, a huge upset to beat the No. 2 seed," said Van Laeys' daughter, Kodi, a junior. "I have a little personal connection with some of them, so it felt even better for me."

Logan then needed three games against Attica to get their second win. The Trojans won the first game before dropping the second, putting themselves in familiar territory.

Entering the state tourney, Logan was 11-7 in three-game matches this year. The Trojans went 1-1 in three-game matches Friday.

"This is the story of our season," the Logan coach said. "I guess we're just in our comfort zone there."

"We've came a long way this year, and it would top it all off to make the finals," Kodi Van Laeys said. "It's pretty cool to be top four in the state."

Logan never has made the title match at state. Now, the Trojans have another opportunity.

"We were viewing it as just another tournament, not anything big," Kodi Van Laeys said. "It's just a higher level of competition, and we can compete with anybody here."

Logan and Sharon Springs both are young teams, with only two seniors on each roster.

Unruh said she knows her team will improve next year despite putting together one of the most successful season in Sharon Springs' history.

"I was totally complimentary of the girls," she said. "We couldn't have had a better season. Coming in with four losses and the No. 2 seed. I'm so proud of them. Regardless of how today went, I told them I was proud of them. This helps us build for next year."

Class 1A Division II

Friday's pool play

Pool A

Baileyville-B&B def. Ingalls, 25-17, 25-18; Dighton def. Beloit-St. John's/Tipton, 25-14, 14-25, 25-17; B&B def. Dighton, 24-26, 25-13, 25-16; Beloit-St. John's/Tipton def. Ingalls, 25-19, 25-17; Dighton def. Ingalls, 25-20, 25-23; B&B def. Beloit-St. John's/Tipton, 25-21, 25-21.

Pool B

Sharon Springs def. Attica, 28-26, 25-16; Argonia def. Logan, 25-20, 19-25, 25-20; Logan def. Sharon Springs, 28-26, 25-23; Argonia def. Attica, 25-15, 25-19; Logan def. Attica, 25-23, 17-25, 25-14; Argonia def. Sharon Springs, 25-18, 25-15.

Saturday's semifinals

2 p.m. -- B&B (40-3) vs. Logan (26-13); Argonia (37-5) vs. Dighton (29-13).

Championship

3:15 p.m. -- Semifinal winners.

Third place

3:15 p.m. -- Semifinal losers.