Maize coach Betsy Manning isn't disturbed by her volleyball team's losses.
"You need to lose some games," said the second-year coach. "It teaches you to fight back. Part of the game is losing. I'd rather lose a couple to some good teams; it helps in the postseason."
And it doesn't hurt that Maize (22-4) lost to top-caliber teams. Maize's first two losses were to Blue Valley West in the Maize tournament and to Goddard in the opening match of the season. Both are ranked in Class 6A, and both matches went to three sets.
"They were so close," Manning said. "I'm happy they were teams we wanted to play against, and we weren't kicked by just anybody."
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On Saturday, Maize played in the prestigious Lawrence tournament and went 2-2, beating Dodge City and Blue Valley North, losing to Shawnee Heights and Topeka Hayden. Hayden is ranked third in Class 4A, Shawnee Heights is one of 5A's top teams and Blue Valley North is ranked second in 6A.
Maize plays with Newton in a triangular tonight at Derby.
Maize has experienced setters in senior Adrienn Amaro and sophomore Mary Kangas; both started in 2009.
"Adrienn is really a floor leader," Manning said. "She's an emotional leader. She makes good decisions and sees holes on the court really well. She's also got a really big swing on her (as a hitter). She can wind up. She's versatile in that she can go line or cross. She's deadly when she's up there."
Maize's top hitter is middle Lindsey Jones, who is even more dangerous when she runs the slide to the right. Jones is Maize's kill and block leader.
McKenzie Hartzog is second in kills and plays well in the back row defensively with her younger sister, Lexi, who is Maize's libero.
Digging pink — For the second season, Hesston volleyball will have a Dig Pink night of volleyball to raise money to fight breast cancer. The team, which will wear pink uniforms, raised $500 in 2009 and hopes to raise $1,000.
Hesston will play host to Hillsboro, Halstead and Sterling tonight.
Hesston, Halstead and Hillsboro finished in the top three of the Canton-Galva tournament on Saturday.
Hesston and Hillsboro are both 21-3, Halstead is 17-12.
Hesston is led by seven seniors — who will be honored tonight — including Dominique Chew.
"She's an all-around good player," coach Jason Peters said. "Everything — serving, passing, hitting. She even did some setting for us last year."