LOUISBURG — The Lady Broncos and Lady Cats went four sets in a thrilling Frontier League matchup in Louisburg with a postseason-like atmosphere.
Spring Hill came in undefeated, fresh off a 5-0 run to win the Lansing Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 14.
Louisburg, one of the perennial Frontier League powers, is coming off back-to-back trips to the Class 4A state championship match.
Both teams are ranked in the state of Kansas.
Spring Hill won the match Tuesday, Sept. 17, by scores of 25-19, 25-22, 20-25 and 25-16. The Lady Broncos (14-0) are ranked No. 2 in Class 5A. Louisburg (5-6) is ranked No. 8 in Class 4A.
The match was highlighted by some long volleys, hard-hitting kills, hustle for digs and enthusiastic fans from both sides.
“I feel like this team really plays well together,” Spring Hill coach Erica Book said. “We play great defense.
“This team has set some goals, and winning the Lansing Invitational was one of those goals,” she said. “We knew coming in it was going to be a tough match. Louisburg is a good team and plays great defense.”
Spring Hill setter Daphne Gardner ran the offense and has been a difference maker for the Lady Broncos, Book said.
“Our setter is a freshman and she has made our hitters better,” Book said.
Spring Hill also features two left-handed hitters in sophomore Rylee Serpan and freshman Addie Hedrick. Every time Hedrick made a big kill the Spring Hill student section chanted “she’s a freshman,” during the match.
Senior Caitlyn Rexroat anchors the Lady Broncos defense at libero. Spring Hill’s offense features a pair of front-row killers in Allisyn Frank and Jayln Stevenson as well as sophomore Kathryn Frakes.
Louisburg walked onto the court with a 5-5 record, but the Lady Cats have played a brutal stretch, facing Spring Hill and Lansing during the tournament and Bonner Springs at home. Bonner Springs is ranked No. 6 in Class 5A and Lansing is ranked No. 8.
“We played much better tonight than we did in the tournament on Saturday,” Louisburg coach Jessica Compliment said. “We came out and competed tonight. We played with a lot more intensity and were a lot more aggressive.
“During the first set, we had too many unforced errors,” Compliment said. “Carleigh (Pritchard) had a big night. We talked about being vocal leaders on the court, and Haley Cain really stepped up as a leader.”
Three of the four sets were decided by six points or less. After losing the first two sets, Louisburg rallied to win the third set for something to build on.
“Taking the third set was a good confidence builder,” she said. “That gives us some momentum.”
Alyse Moore had a kill down the line on a set from Rinny McMullen to give the Lady Cats a 2-1 lead in the opening set. Cain had a stuff block at 3-1.
Hedrick tied the score for the Lady Broncos with a kill at 3-3.
Moore and Pritchard had kills at 4-3 and 5-4 as it remained a tight game early.
Reilly Ratliff-Becher had a big dig, and Elizabeth Jacobs finished the volley off with a kill for Louisburg at 6-5. Pritchard had a block at 8-5.
Pritchard had another block at 9-7, and Jacobs had a kill at 10-8.
Frakes had a kill for the Lady Broncos at 10-12. Cate Milroy served in an ace at 12-13.
Frakes had a block and a kill off blockers as Spring Hill took a three-point lead, 16-13. Stevenson had a kill at 18-14. Stevenson added blocks at 20-16 and 22-17. Frakes ended the set with a kill at 25-19.
Serpan had kills to put the Lady Broncos in front 3-1 in the second set. She had a cross-court kill at 4-2.
Frakes had a kill at 11-8 and a block at 14-10. Frank tied the set at 16-16 with a kill. Stevenson had a kill at 19-19.
Mariah Hess served an ace for Spring Hill at 21-19. Stevenson had a stuff block, Hedrick had a kill and Frakes ended the set with a tip at the net for a final of 25-22.
McMullen served an ace as Louisburg took a 3-0 lead in the third set. Cain broke a 4-4 tie with a kill on a set from McMullen.
Riley Kallevig had a kill and Pritchard had a block as the Lady Cats tied the score at 7-7. Pritchard had a block at 8-8 and a kill at 11-8.
Frank had a block and Hess served an ace as Spring Hill made it a one-point match at 12-11.
Cain had a kill and Jacobs finished a volley with a kill to give the Lady Cats a two-point lead, 17-15.
Pritchard took the set over for Louisburg with kills at 19-17, 21-18, 22-18 and 23-19. The Lady Cats went on to win the set 25-20.
Spring Hill jumped out to a 7-2 lead in the fourth set.
Hedrick had a tip at the net at 12-7. Serpan had a kill at 13-8. Frank had back-to-back kills to push the score to 17-9. Stevenson had kills to make it 20-11. Serpan and Frakes had kills for a score of 22-14. Frakes had another kill at 23-15 and the Lady Broncos went on to win the set 25-16.