The ever-optimistic Southeast Lancers churned their way through tough competition Saturday to claim the sub-state volleyball tournament championship and win a place in the state tourney Oct. 29-30 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.

The ever-optimistic Southeast Lancers churned their way through tough competition Saturday to claim the sub-state volleyball tournament championship and win a place in the state tourney Oct. 29-30 at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.

Wearing sparkling silver headbands and their Columbia blue and white uniforms, Chaney Fox, Amy and Ashley Martin, Bridget McGuire and the dominant 5 foot 10 Christine Bone fought through lots of resistance from No. 1 and 2 seeds Uniontown Eagles and Northeast Vikings after beating the Galena Bulldogs 25-10, 25-12.

“The girls had believed they could be sub-state champs all season long, and they made everybody a believer today,” Lancers coach Cheri Witt said in the tumultuous gymnasium after Southeast downed the orange and black-wearing Eagles 12-25, 26-24, 25-16. “There are tears of joy now instead of tears of sadness.

“They worked all summer long because they were tired of losing. We went from 3-30 two years ago and 9-30 last year to  sub-state champs.”

Christine, who often smiles as she plays and seemingly keeps her confidence even after negative plays, said her older sister Jessica had inspired her to excel when part of the Girard volleyball squad that went to the state tournament two years ago. “I just try to hit the ball down and help my teammates,” she said.

Uniontown coach Jackie Hall said Southeast “took us out of our game and we didn’t react very well.

“They tipped, but we knew they’d do that because we had played them in a tournament at Cherryvale. I’m extremely proud of the way our girls fought back and made it a three-set match. We had some trouble with our serve receive, and that’s usually a real strength for us.”

In the Lancers’ three matches, Fox got 13 kills and 22 digs, Amy Martin 21 kills, Ashley Martin 58 digs, McGuire 75 assists, 27 digs and five kills and Bone 27 kills and seven blocks.

Southeast now stands 27-11 on the season while Uniontown finishes at 34-6.

Other Saturday competitors were the Erie Red Devils, beaten by Uniontown in the first round 25-16, 25-14 and finishing their season 5-30. The matches started at 2 p.m. on Northeast’s north and south courts and continued until after 6:30.

Galena ended its season 11-23.

Northeast frustrated: “It’s devastating,” said Northeast coach Jon Bingesser afterward. “We worked so hard for three years to get to this point, but Southeast has done the same thing, coming from the bottom to the top. They just got us today. They did not let balls drop at all.

“They dumped balls on us when they needed to do, and we couldn’t move to the dump in time,” Bingesser said, crediting Southeast center Bridget McGuire for stellar play. “We could all see it, but our reaction time was a little off. We had a great season. I’m more proud of the girls than ever.”

The grinding contest featured numerous long volleys with the vocal players at times appearing able to keep the point in doubt forever.

Both schools had students’ cheering sections and large contingents of fans who shouted and cheered with every point.

“Lady Lancers!” the Cherokee students chanted, answered immediately by their counterparts on the other side of the court, “Lady Vikings!”

In the two matches, Vikings’ setter Katie Amershek had 50 assists, Khristen Dwyer 26 digs and 22 kills, Britney Clark 39 digs and Kenzi Tims-Cronister 22 digs.

Frontenac tumbles to Riverton: An enthusiastic standing room only crowd of an estimated 300 people turned out for the Frontenac Raiders-Riverton Rams match at Saturday’s Kansas Class 3A Sub-State Volleyball Tournament, where Riverton eliminated Frontenac 25-16, 25-11.

The Raiders’ Lindsey Gorham had eight assists and 10 digs, Libby Warrick four kills and Danielle McBride 17 digs while Nayna Fields was effective serving and 5 foot 9 Ryleigh McCartney tough at the net against a Rams squad that proved sharp.

“We feel like we’re a better team, but we didn’t come out and produce anything,” said Frontenac coach Cassie Buche. “We laid down and played scared from the get-go, and you can’t do that when you’re at sub-state.

“Riverton deserved it. They out-hustled us, out-played us and wanted it a lot more than we did.”

Rams coach Kelli Plant credited her seniors for getting past Frontenac, which finished its season 20-14. “I have a group of seniors who are my foundation, and they really came to play today,” Plant said before Riverton lost to eventual finalist Uniontown 25-11, 25-23.

“They have shown great leadership and really played hard.”

Riverton finished 22-16.