Varsity Kansas

Northwest makes return to state

A midseason coaching change didn’t keep the Northwest volleyball team from reaching the Class 6A tournament for a second straight year.

The Grizzlies defeated Campus 25-20, 25-22 at Campus on Saturday to earn a repeat trip to Topeka for the tournament, which begins Friday.

Garden City defeated South in the other sub-state championship at Campus.

Northwest (28-13) was 19-8 when Craig Smith resigned Oct. 6 for personal reasons. Assistant coach Ann Burgett took over.

“We knew at that time it was really important for all of us to come together as a team,” Northwest senior Katelyn Darnell said of the coaching change. “Coach Burgett has done an amazing job with us. She was a part of this win for us.”

Burgett declined an interview request.

Two straight kills from Tannah Tilley gave Campus a 6-3 lead in the first set. Aces from Northwest’s Kylie Acebedo and Isabella Soliz tied the set up 6-6.

Kills from Acebedo and Arnold pushed Northwest out to a 14-10 lead, but Campus cut the deficit 18-16 by scoring off a Northwest service error and a Hannah Schutte kill. Back-to-back kills from Lucy Herter and Acebedo, her fifth of the set, allowed Northwest to win 25-20.

“Our energy was just awesome,” Acebedo said. “It was better than it’s ever been, especially with our fans and everyone that came.”

There were four lead changes in the second set before Northwest took over for good. A Campus attack error and a kill by Arnold ended the match.

Campus (20-18) was led by Tilley’s seven kills and six from Schutte.

“We’ve been through a lot this season,” Soliz said. “From all the drama and everything, we pulled together as a team and were able to win this.”