Monarchs move to 14-10
By AUSTIN COLBERT
Kaylor Gottschalk's junior season on the Thomas More Prep-Marian volleyball team wasn't very enjoyable in comparison to what the Monarchs have done this year.
With their 6-27 record from 2013 in the past, Gottschalk has made the most of her senior season by helping guide TMP to a 14-10 record following Monday's 3-0 win on senior night over Victoria High School (1-13) at Al Billinger Fieldhouse.
And Gottschalk wasn't coy about how much more fun she is having as the wins pile up.
"So much more fun. Winning is way more fun than losing," Gottschalk said.
"It feels awesome to know we can have reason to have people believe in us. We don't have people doubting us. ... It just feels good to have the support and to know what we can do."
After starting the season 3-8, including an 0-3 performance in Larned at the MCAA quad on Sept. 11, the Monarchs have won 11 of their last 13 matches. The stretch is highlighted by a 5-0 outing at the Trego Invitational on Sept. 13, and a win over Smith Center in Hoisington on Sept. 27. Smith Center was ranked No. 3 in Class 2A as of Sept. 24 after a 12-0 start to the season.
TMP didn't necessarily play up to those standards on Monday against Victoria. After cruising to a 25-9 win in the first set, the Monarchs let Victoria hang around with them the rest of the match.
"It was definitely sloppy. They played really flat," TMP coach Natausha Dreher said. "There wasn't much communication on the floor. I think once you start playing like that it becomes hard to get out of that, unless you have something that really sparks you. So we just kind of played consistently OK."
The Knights led 7-1 in the second set before TMP followed a timeout with six straight points to tie the set. Neither team would hold more than a three-point lead until TMP pushed ahead at 18-14 and held on for the 25-21 set win.
The Monarchs also trailed well into the third set at 16-15, but outscored the Knights 9-2 from there to earn match point at 24-18. Victoria wouldn't go down without a fight, however, and scored five straight points only to fall short, 25-23.
"They were kind of just going through the motions instead of playing strategic," Dreher said. "They got a win for their last home game, and I think they were excited about that. But I think all of them would tell you they aren't satisfied with the way they played their last home game. But we will enjoy the win."
Sophomore Madyson Koerner led TMP with 12 kills, while sophomore Kendra Werth led the team with 18 digs, followed by Gottschalk's 15 digs.
Following the match, Dreher and the TMP players presented Gottschalk with flowers as part of the senior day celebration. Gottschalk is the only senior on a very young Monarch roster.
"It's kind of sad that it's my last home game," Gottschalk said. "As a senior, we didn't have too many home games. But I'm glad to get what we did. And it was fun. I had fun playing with all the girls for the last time at home."
The Monarchs are off until Oct. 7 when they play at Ellis. The remainder of their regular-season schedule includes the Scott City Invitational on Oct. 11 and the MCL Tournament in Plainville on Oct. 18.