HEMINGFORD — While this year’s Western Trails Conference Volleyball Tournament had a different feel to it after moving from late in the season to early, the outcome proved to be much the same.
Mitchell captured the championship for the fourth consecutive year on Saturday at Hemingford High School. The Tigers, who were the top seed, swept Gordon-Rushville 26-24, 25-13 in the title match after topping Morrill 25-17, 25-22 in the semifinals.
“They worked hard for it,” Mitchell head coach Michelle Peters said of her young squad. “It was one of their team goals when we first started. This is probably one of the more rewarding years just because most of these kids didn’t have any varsity experience coming into this season.”
Mitchell improved its season record to 4-2 with Saturday’s wins.
Taking on a Mustang team that handed the Tigers one of their two losses, Mitchell fought off a set point in the opening set of the final. Trailing 24-23, the Tigers reeled off the next three points to escape with the set.
“In a game of momentum like volleyball is, it’s important to win those tight sets,” Peters said. “The momentum can go either way from there. The kids kept their composure and finished. It shows what this group of kids is made of. They are great kids working hard all the time. I’m happy they get to experience this.”
Quincey Johnson put down nine kills to lead Mitchell’s offensive attack in the title match. Trinity Penn, Kailey Townsend and Josie Jenkins all added five kills each.
Marjie Schmitt handed out 22 assists from her setter’s position, while Avery Hobbs served a team-high 11 points.
Defensively for the Tigers, Hobbs and Lyndsey Walters each recorded six digs. Jenkins and Jayden Kanno followed with five each.
In the semifinal victory over Morrill, Schmitt put together a solid all-around performance to power the Tigers, She led Mitchell with eight service points, two aces, 12 assists, and eight digs.
Johnson and Jenkins tallied four kills each. Hobbs served six points, while Johnson and Kanno each added five.
Schmitt, Penn and Johnson all registered two ace blocks each. Hobbs and Walters recorded five digs each.
Bridgeport grabbed third place in the tournament. The Bulldogs beat Hemingford 25-11, 25-18 in the first round before falling to Gordon-Rushville 25-19, 25-21 in the semifinals. Bridgeport then outlasted Morrill 25-20, 15-25, 25-22 in the third-place match.
Ruthie Loomis-Goltl led the Bulldogs with 11 kills against the Lions. Evy Loomis-Goltl followed with six. Paige Schmunk handed out 23 assists.
Bridgeport totaled 13 service aces. Natalie Keenan-Vergil led the way with four, while Schmunk, Ruthie Loomis-Goltl and Falen Jeffries each had three.
Ruthie Loomis-Goltl paced Bridgeport defensively with 14 digs and three total blocks. Evy Loomis-Goltl followed with 13 digs and Keenan-Vergil had 12.
In Bridgeport’s win over Hemingford, Keenan-Vergil put down a team-high seven kills. Schmunk fired in three service aces and totaled 22 assists. Jeffries also served three aces and led the Bulldogs defensively with 11 digs.
Keenan-Vergil and Ruthie Loomis-Goltl had seven kills each for Bridgeport against Gordon-Rushville. Loomis-Goltl also finished with a team-high three aces. Schmunk dished out 18 assists.
Keenan-Vergil led Bridgeport defensively against the Mustangs with 14 digs.
Gordon-Rushville advanced into the semifinals with a 25-13, 25-19 win over Bayard in the first round.