A New Nemesis

Winfield High School senior middle blocker Ali Tate solidly rejects a kill attempt by El Dorado middle hitter Jamison McCaig during Tuesday night’s triangular at Ollie Thomas Gymnasium. Tate recorded 9 1/2 blocks as the Lady Vikings split the triangular, losing to El Dorado and defeating Mulvane.

Winfield High School has played Mulvane four times in volleyball this season, three in tournament play, and the two schools likely couldn’t be any more similar in makeup.

Tuesday night’s nonleague battle at Ollie Thomas Gymnasium lived up to the hype.

The Lady Vikings pulled out a 25-13, 22-25, 28-26 triumph in a thriller.

“We like to keep it interesting, that is for sure,” WHS coach Aubree Vargas said. “These girls wouldn’t go out any other way.”

The Lady Vikings (10-15, 1-3 AV-CTL D-III) fell to El Dorado 25-23, 25-18 in a league battle. The Lady Wildcats (14-11, 2-2) lost to Mulvane 25-23, 26-24 as the three teams all split the triangular.

Winfield lost to the Lady Wildcats (5-20) in two sets on Sept. 7 at the Winfield Early Bird Tournament, then the two teams split Saturday at the Douglass Invitational.

The fourth meeting was the topper.

“This is the first time I have seen that heart and drive in such an exciting match,” Vargas said. “They played well and competed well.”

With the victory, Winfield reached the elusive 10-win plateau for the first time in recent memory.

“I also don’t know the last time the volleyball team had 10 wins, but we are excited about this group doing big things this year, Vargas said. “We as a staff are proud of the girls. The last two points came down to a defensive stop and the Vikings got two big blocks to win the game.”

Winfield recorded 16 blocks in the match, six by senior middle hitter-blocker Ali Tate and four each by seniors Chloe Hoffman and Paulina Gorska.

Just as important was the serving. After serving at a .775 clip (31 of 40) with just one ace in the loss to El Dorado, the Lady Vikings connected on a .920 mark (69 of 75) while reeling off 12 aces.

Senior Emmah Sultz, Winfield’s most steady server and the leader with 15 assists, knocked down 14 of 14 from the line. Junior Haley Gedrose was 10 of 11 while firing six aces, and Gorska was 15 of 16 with three aces.

Sophomore Kylar Graham led the offensive attack with eight kills to go with 10 digs, and Hoffman recorded seven kills and nine digs while going 9 of 10 with an ace at the line. Tate added six kills and Gedrose dished out 14 assists, and sophomore Mikayla Konrade had nine digs while serving 12 of 12 with an ace.

The Lady Vikings registered 20 kills against El Dorado, six by Gedrose and five by Hoffman. Sultz handled 12 assists and seven digs, and went 8 of 10 at the line with an ace. Gedrose had team highs with six kills and eight digs while putting up a pair of blocks. Tate recorded 3 1/2 blocks, and Konrade went 8 of 9 at the line.

The Lady Vikings compiled a 2-3 record Saturday at Douglass. Konrade was named to the all-tournament team.

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