An opening season game loss isn’t the way most teams like to start off their season but in the case of the Vikings, Coach Lisa Mason thinks it may have been just what was needed to kick the team into high gear. “After the first two games, I was really not knowing what to expect for the rest of the season,” reflected Coach Mason. “I know what we are capable of, but we sure couldn’t get it going on that opening night.”
The Vikings definitely “got it going” as they cruised to a Loomis Tournament Championship as well as added two individual game wins this past week as they improved their record to 6-1 on the season, defeating a state ranked Hampton Hawk team along the way.
The week began on Tuesday, Sept. 3 with the first home game of the season as the Vikings took on a very solid Amherst Broncos team. “This was definitely one of the toughest defensive teams we have seen,” said Coach Kevin Lavene. The Vikings started out strong in the first set, but 3 serving errors and 16 hitting errors allowed the Broncos to push the Vikings to a 30-28 battle before they could finally close out the set. Although the Vikings continued on with service errors in set two, they were able to shut down Amherst’s offense behind the blocking efforts of Mollie Kaps and Haley Dannehl and finish the game in three, 30-28, 25-17, 25-17.
On Thursday, the Vikings traveled to Elwood to take on the Pirates. Blocking and tough defense allowed the Vikings to get on a roll offensively, shutting down the Pirates hopes of a victory. The Vikings ended the evening winning in three straight 25-17, 25-17, 25-9.
The week ended with the Vikings traveling to Loomis to participate in the 911 Memorial Tournament. In the first round, the Vikings took on a young but tall Maxwell Wildcat team. The strain of a long week showed on the Vikings in the first set, as they struggled to get going. “I think the size of the Wildcat team got to us a little in the beginning,” said Coach Mason. “We were able to swing away on Thursday against Elwood’s smaller size, but Maxell is considerably bigger and we had to make some adjustments with our hitting.” The Vikings ended the match in two, 25-23, 25-15.
In the second round of the tournament, the Vikings were paired up against D-2 state ranked Hampton. Hampton went ahead of the Vikings early on in the game; however, Bertrand came storming back, putting together one of their best games to date as they jumped out to a 20-9 lead behind the serving of Haley Dannehl. Hampton fought back and traded five more points before the Vikings were able to close out the set 25-14.
In the second set, the Vikings fought hard to a 19-11 lead, but service errors allowed the Hawks to cut the lead to 6 at 22-16, before they could finish out the game 25-17. Coach Lavene stated, “Our girls did a great job defensively against Hampton today. Kaitlyn Ryan had some key defensive plays early on that helped to shut down Hampton mentally.”
In the championship match, the Vikings took on Sumner-Eddyville-Miller. In the first set of the match, the Vikings dominated the Mustangs, winning 25-8. The Vikings started out slow in the second set allowing SEM to go ahead10-12, battling back and forth throughout the early part of the set. The Lady Vikings were eventually able to win the set, match and tournament with a final set score of 25-19.
The Vikings will be in action again this week as they travel to Arapahoe on Thursday, Sept. 17 to play in a triangular against Southern Valley and Arapahoe. The varsity will start play at 6:30. No JV games will be played. JV’s will play on Monday, Sept. 21 at home in a triangular with Holdrege and Loomis. The Vikings will play at 5:30 and 7:30.