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HHS volleyball goes 3-0

By AUSTIN COLBERT

acolbert@dailynews.net

The assertiveness shown by the Hays High School volleyball team on Monday hadn't been present all season, and it carried the Indians to surprising results in their final home quadrangular.

"We've lacked confidence because we tend to overthink things," Indian senior Haley Wells said. "Today we just didn't overthink anything. We went out there and played for the three wins. And for our last home game -- my last home game."

Wells, the only senior for Hays High (12-18), was the team's inspiration for a sweep of Colby, Liberal and Phillipsburg on senior night, the first sweep of the season for the Indians.

The key win came in Hays High's final match of the night, a 2-0 (25-21, 25-22) upset of Phillipsburg (21-6), ranked No. 4 in Class 3A.

The win also avenged a loss to Phillipsburg on Saturday at the Great Bend Invitational, where the Panthers took both sets 28-26.

"I think part of it was we wanted to have that drive for Haley because we came so close the last time and we wanted to have that drive to give her that last game," said sophomore Kylie Brown, who had a team high 16 kills on Monday. "I think we finally found that rotation that clicked for us and we weren't afraid to swing hard and go balls to the walls for anything."

The rotation -- or lack thereof-- had been an issue for the Indians all season. For whatever reason, Hays High could never find a lineup that felt right during its 9-18 start.

But everything was clicking against Phillipsburg on Monday. Hays High jumped out to a 7-3 lead in the first set, showing a confidence not seen all season. The Panthers rallied and the teams would end up tied at 20 when the Indians finished the set on a 5-1 run.

Set two started a little slower for Hays High, with Phillipsburg taking a 5-2 lead. Hays High never blinked and would eventually build a 15-11 lead, part of a 6-1 run.

Phillipsburg put together a 6-0 run soon after, cutting an eight-point deficit down to 24-22 before the Indians put the match away.

"Today we found a rotation that worked and I think the girls all felt confident with it and I felt confident with it," Hays High coach Christin Nunnery said. "Our girls all said we were going to do it for Haley, because she is our senior. I think that kind of gave them a little extra push."

The catalyst for the Indians' upset of Phillipsburg was their 2-0 (25-23, 25-22) upset of WAC rival Liberal in the second match. Hays High defeated Colby 2-1 (25-12, 15-25, 25-18) in the first match.

"Beating Liberal gave us that boost of confidence because they are probably one of the better teams in the WAC," Brown said. "It just gave us that boost of confidence to go out there and say we beat Liberal and give us that drive."

Not only does the sweep give Hays High one more win than it had all of last season, it shows the Indians might finally have gotten over a major hurdle with its rotation. All that remains on the Hays High schedule is a trip to the WAC championship in Dodge City on Oct. 19.

And for Wells, Monday's sweep couldn't have come at a better time. While her senior season has had its rocky moments, senior night went as well as she could have dreamed.

"It was very emotional because these young girls have made it all really fun for me this season. I will miss volleyball a lot," Wells said. "Having a rotation that clicked was really awesome, especially on senior night. It was our last home game so I felt like we wanted to bring our whole heart into when we played."

Sophomore Albany Schaffer led Hays High with 59 digs on Monday, while sophomore Madison Prough carried the team with 36 assists. Junior Ashlyn Parrish was second to Brown with 13 kills.

Phillipsburg went 2-1 on Monday, with a 2-1 (25-10, 22-25, 25-17) win over Liberal and a 2-0 (25-20, 25-21) win over Colby.