For the third time since 2011, there won’t be a Wichita area volleyball team coming home with a state championship plaque.
The Kansas City area dominated Classes 6A and 5A as it has each of the past two years and five of the past six. The Topeka area stole the 4A and 3A titles, and Kansas’ smallest classifications went to teams in the middle of the state.
The Wichita area went 9-5 against teams outside of the Wichita and Kansas City areas. The Wichita area went 3-8 against KC. In Classes 6A and 5A alone, the Wichita area was 1-7 against KC teams.
The Wichita area sent 10 teams to the state tournaments. Five reached the semifinal round, and one made it to a championship match.
Kansas City sent 11 team to state. Seven made it to the final four. Three reached a title match, and two won.
Andale makes school history despite loss
With the score tied at 25-25 and the next rally likely deciding the state champion, Madison Grimes went airborne.
Andale’s senior libero tracked down a tipped spike that carried the Indians’ defense. She dived and flew about 5 yards. Grimes swung her arm back toward the net, and the ball came down in perfect position for senior setter Jenna Jarmer.
Andale lost that point and lost the match to Topeka Hayden 25-19, 27-25 in Hutchinson. Coach Kaylie Bergkamp said plays like that show that her team never accepted defeat.
“Can’t be disappointed,” Bergkamp said. “We lost three matches this year. That’s it. That’s something to be said. ... They have been all-in all year. That’s why they only lost three games, and that’s why they beat really good teams this year.”
Andale went 3-1 against state-qualifying teams in the regular season and lost one set at state ahead of the championship match.
Andale made history Saturday. Last year, the Indians reached the Class 4A state semifinals in Bergkamp’s first year as coach. In 2019, they went a step further and made it to the state final for the first time in school history.
There, they ran into Hayden, who won its fourth state championship in five years — even in the midst of Bishop Miege in Class 4A.
Hayden had a significant height advantage, but Bergkamp said the Indians had more strength. She said the team knew it didn’t have the size to match up with some of the best teams in Kansas, so in the offseason, Andale was in the gym every morning.
It almost paid off with the first state championship in school history.
After the match, some of the Andale players cried, but every Indian — even the seniors — laughed with their teammates at least once postgame. Bergkamp said after the loss, she told her players they had just made history.
“I told them, ‘We’re still going in the trophy case, and we’re still going on the wall in the gym,’ “ Bergkamp said.
Senior Morgan Bruna said she feels like she and the other four seniors did everything they could to win the title but more important, to show the underclassmen that it was possible and how to get there.
“I think we have improved so much,” Jarmer said. “Two years ago, we didn’t even make it past sub-state. I just think it’s unreal how far we have come.”
The loss will sting for the Indians, they said. Underclassmen like junior Katelyn Fairchild said it will only motivate the team more. Bergkamp said she felt a couple of calls didn’t go her team’s way, and late in the second set when Hayden was given a red card penalty, Andale wasn’t given the regulatory penalty point or awarded the serve.
Andale made plenty of mistakes that impacted the final score, but Fairchild said she would still choose her team if they had another chance Saturday night.
“We think we’re still the better team,” Fairchild said. “We know they won, but I know how much work we put in every single day. I love these girls.”
Circle captures trophy in first state trip since 2011
Circle wasn’t a favorite to win the Class 4A title in 2019, but only two teams were better by the end.
Circle bowed out in the semifinal round to runner-up Andale 25-10, 28-26. It was a match that gave Andale only its second real test of the postseason. The Thunderbirds regroups and beat last year’s runner-up, Louisburg, in the third-place match 19-25, 25-21, 26-24.
Most impressive: Circle hadn’t been to a state volleyball tournament in eight years.
Circle finished its season 36-8, its best record in recent history. The Thunderbirds were paired in pool play with No. 2 Independence, No. 6 Eudora and No. 7 Topeka Hayden. They lost only to Hayden, the eventual state champion and won a three-set match against Independence.
2019 was Circle coach Shelly Nibarger’s 31st season with the T-Birds. It will go down as one of the most memorable: A team that was doubted but came home with a plaque.
Garden Plain falls short of repeat titles
There is a new champion in Class 2A.
Last year’s winner, Garden Plain, fell to Spearville in the state semifinals 25-21, 21-25, 25-23 in Dodge City. The three-set match gave the Owls confidence midway through, but it wasn’t enough.
Garden Plain finished its season 34-10. The Owls entered the state tournament as the No. 8 seed after playing one of the most brutal schedules of any Class 2A team.
This season, Garden Plain played state qualifiers Belle Plaine in 2A, Cheney in 3A, Andale in 4A, Goddard and Bishop Carroll in 5A, and Garden City in 6A - a 2A school against one of the best 6A teams in Kansas. In those games, the Owls went 3-8.
Garden Plain beat Valley Heights 25-17, 25-15 in the third-place match.