HESSTON, Kan. - For the first time in program history, the Nickerson Lady Panthers take the title at the Central Kansas League Preseason Volleyball Tournament after a three game match against Hesston.
Nickerson and Hesston were the only two CKL to be named in the Kansas Volleyball Association preseason rankings released earlier in the week. The Lady Panthers came in ranked seventh in Class 4A. Hesston, who hosted the tournament, earned the number four spot in the rankings for Class 3A.
Both teams were in the same five team pool. When they met for the final game of pool play, Nickerson won in two games. This victory, and point differential, broke a three way tie and gave the pool to the Lady Panthers. Hesston came in second.
In the semifinals, Hesston defeated Smoky Valley. Nickerson would need three games to send Hillboro to the third place game.
The championship match was similar in that it went to three games also. Nickerson won the first game 25 to 23. Hesston evened things up taking game two 25 to 22. The Lady Panthers got some separation early in game three and held on to it to win with a score of 25 to 13.
"It is a great way to start the season," said Nickerson Head Coach Deedra Emel. "I'm so proud of the girls and the work they've put in and the effort and leadership they show.
"From day one we've talked about effort and leadership and pluses and minuses. If we can have a plus in effort and a plus in leadership, we can beat anyone."
In the third place match, Hillsboro defeated Smoky Valley. Halstead secured fifth place in the tournament after a three game match over Haven. Lyons took seventh place after winning over Hoisington. Pratt secured their first win of the day against Larned to earn ninth place in the tournament.