Ended a day early

Four Kansas State High School Activities Association state volleyball tournaments resumed at 10 a.m. Meanwhile, I am still in room 1123 at the Overland Park Marriott, not ready to go out.

Smith Center was eliminated after pool play yesterday at the Class 2A state tournament by going 1-2. The Lady Red lost to Wabaunsee in three sets, beat Chase County in two, but could not overcome Central Plains, which prevailed 25-19, 25-18.

The Lady Red ended the season 34-8, the fifth time in the last six years they have won at least 30 matches. Coach Nick Linn has a 736-266 career record, a .735 winning percentage, in 28 seasons at Smith Center. Excellent.

Linn and former Smith Center football coach Roger Barta (1978-2012) hold the Kansas record for most combined wins between a volleyball and football coach. Barta, a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame, was 323-68 in 35 seasons.

The Mid-Continent League will have to wait at least another year to produce a volleyball state champion. League champion TMP-Marian went 1-2 in the Class 4A-Division II state tournament at Salina. The Monarchs won their first match over Holcomb, but they lost to Baldwin and Royal Valley. TMP finished the year 23-16, and it returns every player except one, Kaylor Gottschalk. I would expect the Monarchs to come back and return to state, whether it be in 4A Division II or in 3A. TMP was the smallest of the 64 Class 4A schools, and could easily be back in 3A next year.

Strangely enough, this is the first time since 2009 the MCL doesn’t have a team in the final four of the Class 2A state tournament. Smith Center was there in 2011 (3rd) and 2013 (4th), Plainville in 2010 (4th) and Hill CIty in 2012 (3rd). The 2A tournament moved from Hays to Emporia in 2010 because Class 1A split into two divisions.

Northwest Kansas had two teams left playing in state volleyball tournaments, both in Class 1A. Logan was in the final four of the Division II tournament, which began at 10 a.m., and Hoxie is in the Division I semis, which get underway at 2 p.m. Both 1A tournaments are at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum.

It’s down to football for the fall. There are only three teams remaining for Main Street Media papers: Osborne, Phillipsburg and Victoria. The Bulldogs and Knights play their 8-man openers Tuesday, while the Panthers have to wait until Friday to host Sacred Heart.

This is the first time since 2009 the lights will be dark in Smith County at playoff time. Smith Center is not in the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and Thunder Ridge is out for the first time since 2009 in the 8-man ranks. The Longhorns went 6-3, but two of those losses were to district foes Victoria and St. John’s/Tipton. Thunder RIdge’s other loss was to Osborne, last year’s 8-man Division I state champion.

Speaking of Osborne, the Bulldogs saw their 20-game winning streak end Thursday when they lost at Hanover. Osborne opens the playoffs at undefeated Peabody-Burns, which will be itching to avenge their loss at Osborne three years ago.

Victoria is favored in its first game vs. Hoxie. The Knights are also on the short list to win the Division II state championship when all is said and done.

Gotta decide if I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings or not. The long drive makes me lean towards no, but it’s a nice day despite the low temperatures. Do I really want to sit here all day?

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on November 1, 2014, in Smith Center HS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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