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Morning Sun
  • Senior Night Split: Colgan sweeps Columbus, falls to Lancers

  • The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers were in a radically different position last year.


    Colgan had no seniors on its volleyball roster last year and on Tuesday night, the Panthers honored four seniors — Katelyn Flood, Mariah Klenke, Abbie O’Brien and Kathryn Smith — during a Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League triangular split with Columbus and Southeast at home.

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  • The St. Mary’s Colgan Panthers were in a radically different position last year.
    Colgan had no seniors on its volleyball roster last year and on Tuesday night, the Panthers honored four seniors — Katelyn Flood, Mariah Klenke, Abbie O’Brien and Kathryn Smith — during a Crawford-Neosho-Cherokee League triangular split with Columbus and Southeast at home.
    “These girls last year were asked to step up and take a leadership role as well,” Colgan head coach Cathy Oplotnik said. “We have four great seniors and I know they would like to have ended their career with a victory on their home court but we played a great team and hopefully, we’ll learn from that.”
    Colgan defeated Columbus 2-0 (25-16, 25-13) and lost to Southeast 2-1 (15-25, 25-21, 14-25) in the nightcap.
    Southeast, two-time defending Class 3A substate champions, parlayed 4-0, 3-0 and 7-0 scoring runs into a 20-8 first set lead. Colgan forced a third set with a 5-1 run in the last half of the second proving crucial to fending off the resilient Lancers. Oplotnik talked about the challenge of playing Southeast.
    “They have some very good hitters and they were able to put the ball down on the floor very aggressively,” Oplotnik said. “The big difference between our first set and second set was our back row was able to dig the ball out more. Aliee Story, Katie Kolarik and Abbie O’Brien did a better job of digging the ball and making a better pass for us.”
    Southeast answered the bell in the final set with a 13-1 scoring run turning an early 4-3 lead into a 17-4 advantage. Kalee Ewbank served back-to-back aces, Marina Stricklin and Amy Martin also had aces, Martin added two kills and sophomore Maggie Renn also had a pair of kills as Southeast saved its best volleyball of the night for last.
    Colgan surged back to 18-11 but Southeast went back ahead 22-11 and closed out Colgan 25-14.
    Klenke led Colgan with seven kills against Southeast; Kolarik and Sydney Beck each had five and Cori Koehn added four.
    Colgan started the night with a sweep, overcoming an early 4-1 deficit in the first set with two runs totaling 17-1 helping Colgan go ahead 21-11 en route to a 25-16 first set. Colgan finished out Columbus 25-13.
    O’Brien led Colgan with seven kills and Beck added four, Koehn four and Kolarik three. Kolarik added seven aces. Flood had eight assists, Minton six and Kelly Smith four assists.
    The Panthers have won six of their eight matches, all played at home sweet home in the Fieldhouse.
    “We are a fairly young team and I think we’ve improved skillwise but we’re also starting to get along with each other better,” Oplotnik said. “We’re starting to understand each other’s roles.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Southeast defeated Columbus 2-0 (25-22, 25-13), benefiting from scoring runs at critical times.
    The Lancers trailed 22-21 late in the first set and closed out Columbus with four straight points, including back-to-back kills by Renn and Martin for points No. 24 and No. 25. The Lancers trailed 6-3 in the second before runs of 6-0, 5-0, 4-0 and 3-0 helped Southeast win the second 25-13.
    Unofficially, Martin had nine kills against Columbus and Olivia Powell added seven. Ewbank and Chloe Biancarelli each served three aces and Stricklin added one for a strong Southeast service game Tuesday night.
    Southeast improves to 29-5 and 7-1 in the CNC.
    Both the Lancers and the Panthers travel out to Caney for a substate this Saturday also featuring CNC schools Erie, Galena and Riverton and Tri-Valley League schools Caney Valley, Cherryvale and Neodesha. Pairings will be released today by the Kansas State High School Activities Association.

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