Lady Titans make Sweet 16

Tri-County volleyball season ends as team falls to Newton in straight set; Tems finishes a stellar 27-9.\

Tri-County volleyball had a unique post-season.

The Titans came into the tournament as the number two seed in sub-sectional A of the Robinson Sectional two weeks ago and hosted a home regional in Kansas as a result. Despite having the home court advantage, the road proved tougher than expected as both matches went the full three-set distance before the Titans eventually hoisted the regional title.

Sectional play at Robinson Nov. 1 offered a chance to shine in a big way with a spot in the Elite Eight on the line when the Titans took on fellow number two seed Newton Eagles. The Titans wanted to break the trend of playing three-set matches with a strong start and taking control of the tempo of the match.

The Eagles put the brakes on the Titans’ plan in a huge way.

Newton took control from the opening set, jumping out to a quick 7-2 lead and the Titans never got a jump-start on the offense. The Eagles cruised to a 25-10 win. Set two was looking like it a runaway with Newton up 22-14, but the Titans team wasn't done.

TCT dug down deep and put on a furious rally outscoring the Eagles 8-1 to get back into the match at 23-22 and momentum on their side. The Titans finally ran out as the Eagles scored two more points, with the final point coming on a service ace to take the set 25-22 and ending the Titans season.

for the game are: Ali Smith, 5 kills and 3 digs; Kaylenn Hunt, 4 kills and 6 blocks; Grace Burnside, 3 kills, 3 blocks and 4 digs; Ashtyn Cottle, 2 kills, 3 blocks and 3 digs; Julia Robertson, 9 assists; Becca Royer, 3 digs and 2 aces; Melia Eskew, 4 assists; and Maiya Eskew, 2 digs.

The Titans finish the 2017 season at 27-9 overall and 5-0 in the LOVC Southeast winning the regular season and divisional tournament titles along with the LOVC overall tournament championship and the first regional title since 2014.

TCT gritty comeback wins sectional


A spot in the Class 2A sectional final was on the line at Robinson High School Oct. 30 as the Tri-County Titans and Edwards County Lions met for the first time since the 2014 sectional final in Flora. The Titans came into play after winning their own regional the week before. The Lions, having lost only five matches all season, was one of the favorites going into sectional play.

The first set started disastrously for TCT as Edwards County jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead, but the Titans exhibited a well-established never say die determination and battled back to within a couple of points before the Lions closed the set at 25-22. This was the first time all post-season the Titans played from behind.

Titans momentum from the first-set rally continued in the second and TCT racked up a 21-13 score. A late surge by the Lions rally was not enough and Tri-County won the second round at 25-23.

In the final stanza, TCT played like gangbusters, keeping the Lions off balance for a 25-18 win and taking the match to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

"The Titans came out to win tonight," head coach Crystal Buckler said after the match. "We started off the first game down by seven points and then started to come back – just didn’t have enough. Second game we had our talk in, and the girls finally got their heads up, and they realized that they have the talent to beat this team. They came together as a whole, talked as a team to pass, set and get the kill. They placed the ball where it needed to be placed in the last two games, which we’ve been working on for the past few days. I am so proud of these girls for what they have already accomplished and can’t wait to see what happens Wednesday."

Game stats: Ali Smith, 7 kills and 13 digs; Grace Burnside, 7 kills, 4 blocks and 5 digs; Kaylenn Hunt, 5 kills and 8 blocks; Ashtyn Cottle, 3 kills; Julia Robertson, 16 assists; and Maiya Eskew, 16 digs.

The Prairie Press

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