GARDEN PLAIN — Cheney took some early hits this volleyball season when junior Merissa Quick and senior Hailey Twietmeyer, both middle hitters, suffered knee injuries.
Quick was hurt in a preseason scrimmage but was cleared Tuesday to play in the season's second half. Twietmeyer missed nearly three weeks.
While Cheney seemed to continue to cruise — the Cardinals improved to 18-1 Tuesday after sweeping Garden Plain 25-22, 25-10o and Chaparral 25-15, 25-15 — it hasn't been easy.
"We got a little shook up because a few people were out and we had to adjust and it was new to us and it was different," said Courtney Traxson, a 6-foot senior who has committed to Kansas State.
The most major moves were to fill the void at middle, so coach Sarah Lungren turned to Traxson, who moved from outside, as did junior Allyssa Nikkel, who is 5-7.
"As a team we had to come together," said Lungren, whose team's only loss was to Rose Hill in the season-opening quadrangular. "We didn't really talk about (the injuries). It's in the past, we have to deal with what we have. We have to go on, and we did. We relied a lot on our seniors and everyone doing their job on the court."
Against Garden Plain, the Cardinals struggled in the first game.
Garden Plain took a 6-4 lead on kills by Jordan Hoheisel, Kelsey Fisher and a stuff block by Samantha Ledy. With the score tied 13-all, Cheney started to pull away, getting three stuff blocks, a tip and a kill to take a 19-14 lead.
Garden Plain battled back from a 22-15 deficit, getting to within 23-22. But Cheney scored the game's final two points on a kill by Payton Scheer and a Garden Plain hitting error.
Kylie Patterson and Nikkel led Cheney with five kills apiece, while Scheer had four.
The second game was much different, as Cheney raced to an 11-2 lead and a 15-point victory.
"The first game I thought the girls went about it the right way," said Garden Plain coach Gina Clark, whose team is 14-7. "In the second game... we forgot to take care of all those things and really kind of lost our focus."