But she is also aware that it has a drawback. Being No. 1 automatically puts a target on you.
Hillsboro faced Central Kansas League rivals Kingman and Pratt Tuesday evening at Kingman, but swept the triangular. The Trojans got their toughest challenge from Pratt.
In Hillsboro’s first game against the Greenbacks, Pratt jumped out to a 4-0 lead, but the Trojans fought back to bring it to a 4-4 tie with an ace from Addie Lackey. Pratt regained the lead, until another Trojan ace from Maci Schlehuber tied things up at 10. The Trojans got its first lead of the game on the next play when a Greenback hit went out of bounds.
Once things tied up again at 18, Trojan Tena Lowen had a kill, followed by an ace to bring things up 20-18. Hillsboro continued to roll with back-to-back kills from Alex Ratzlaff. When a Pratt return went into the net, the Trojans clenched a 25-18 win.
Hillsboro led throughout the second game against Pratt, but multiple kills from Greenbacks Jaci Kolm and Jenson Maydew made things difficult for the Trojans. Pratt fought from behind and eventually evened the score at 22 and again at 23 and 24, before another kill from Ratzlaff helped Hillsboro regain the lead. When a Pratt ball went into the net and failed to go over, the Trojans swept their match.
“I’m really proud of the way our girls responded in every situation,” said Arnold. “(Pratt head coach Dean Rausch) gets a lot out of his team, and they are a scrappy bunch. We did a good job of staying aggressive and continuing to attack.”
Against Kingman, the Trojans allowed the first point to go to the Eagles, but quickly jumped out to a double-digit 15-5 lead. Hillsboro went on to win the first game against Kingman 25-7, ending it with a Lackey kill.
In the second Hillsboro-Kingman game, the Eagles’ only lead came off a Lauren Moon kill to bring things to 2-1. Hillsboro then quickly got off to a solid lead. With Trojan libero Danae Bina serving, an 11-6 lead soon became at 15-6 lead. At that point, Arnold encouraged Bina to mix up her serves, moving from the right side of the court to the left. The experiment worked, as they extended their lead to 18-6.
The Trojans went on to defeat Kingman 25-11 in the second game.
The Greenbacks split the triangular by defeating Kingman, but the Eagles took them to three games.
Kingman commanded the first game until an Eagle hit went out of bounds, enabling the Greenbacks to tie things at 21. Kingman held off the Pratt rally and pulled ahead once more, but a Kolm kill again evened the score at 24. A pair of Pratt returns going into the net enabled the Eagles to win the first game 26-24.
The Greenbacks did not allow the final two games of the match to get as close. Leading throughout, Pratt won the next two 25-9, 25-18.