Eudora takes tourney
Volleyball victorious at McLouth, second in league
It was an exciting week for Eudora High School volleyball, and the excitement continues to build as the team heads into sub-state play this week.
The team captured the tournament championship Saturday at the McLouth Invitational and finished second in the Frontier League after chalking up two league wins Tuesday night in Eudora.
For the first time in school history, Eudora's volleyball team set a new regular season record of 30 wins Tuesday, but not before suffering two losses to Santa Fe Trail 13-25 and 16-25.
"We started off the night on our heels against Santa Fe Trail from the start," coach Jill Stutler said. "We didn't execute our serve receive or offense well, and that kept us on our heels on defense.
"We played from behind throughout the match and couldn't make the runs that we needed to get us back in it."
However, Eudora rebounded with big-league wins, defeating Gardner 25-23 and 25-20 and De Soto 25-9, 25-21.
"We did a better job of taking the other team's big hitters out of the game and executing our offense," Stutler said.
"Kayla Moyer stepped up in defense for us and made some big digs that allowed us to get the ball to our hitters.
"We had stronger and more aggressive play from our front row players. We just need to do a better job of controlling the ball on serve receive."
The league wins were a good way to cap off senior night for the squad's two seniors, Moyer and Brooke Bell, who were recognized before the games.
In Saturday's tournament play, with the exception of the championship round, Eudora won each of its matches in two games. Scores for Eudora against Maur Hill were 25-13, 25-5; McLouth 26-24, 25-16; and Bishop Seabury 25-18, 25-9. In the semi-final round, Eudora defeated Jefferson County West 25-22, 25-13.
The final match-up between the Cardinals and Jefferson County North was forced to three games, but Eudora claimed the title, scoring 25-12, 21-25, 26-24.
"It was great all-around play from everyone," Stutler said. "Players stepped up when we needed them to. Elaina Kouri was thrown in there and did a great job of playing for some that were injured."
Stutler said Kelsey Epperson did a great job running the offense, and Moyer and Carrie Lister had some big plays when needed.
"In the finals, we came out strong in the first game and had some let downs but battled through to pull out the victory when we needed to.
"It is a great confidence builder, and it should help us carry the momentum into this week."
Sophomore Erin Kracl was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament, and freshman Nikki Snider was named to the all-tournament team.
"We are going to take the next few days and fine tune some things so that we are going in confident and relaxed," Stutler said. "We need to bring a new intensity level on defense."
Stutler said this year's sub-state title was "up for grabs."
"We are going to do whatever we can to make that happen. We will need a big crowd to help us achieve all the goals we have left."
Eudora is host to the 4-A sub-state volleyball tournament Saturday.
The Cardinals (30-6) will take on the Braves from Bonner Springs (6-29) at 2 p.m. in the first round of sub-state play. Tonganoxie (28-8) and Baldwin (10-25) will also face off at 2 p.m. in first-round action.