By ISAAC DEER
The Rossville Invitational volleyball tournament ended the way rivalry fanatics thought it would end on Saturday afternoon.
In the 10-team tournament, the schools that are six miles apart were the ones that came face to face for the championship match.
Rossville and Silver Lake’s dominant days rewarded them with a spot in the championship match at Rossville High School and it would wind up being Silver Lake which would edge Rossville, 25-23, 26-24, to claim the title.
“We didn’t feel defeated whenever we were trailing today,” Silver Lake coach Sarah Johnson said. “I have players that can come off the bench and make things happen when we need it the most. Today helped us get some valuable information on teams that we could face down the road. We will have to play Rossville, so today was a big deal.”
In the championship match, the two sets had nine different lead changes. Nobody jumped out to a lead of more than four points and the intensity was at its peak.
Ella Bolan, Alana Brewster McKinley Kruger, Kaibryn Kruger, Makenzie McDaniel, Taylor Ross, Sarah Wehrli and the Lady Eagles knew it was time to punch their ticket. The Lady Eagles were diving and swarming on every play, presenting a complex challenge to Rossville.
At certain points of the tournament, the Lady Eagles made the battles on the court look smooth and easy. Silver Lake didn’t have a single match on Saturday that went more than two sets. Out of the 12 sets that Silver Lake played, only five were decided by three points or fewer.
“I don’t truly think we played our best consistently,” Johnson said. “I felt like we had some moments of greatness and moments that we could’ve done better getting the job done. I think we are getting closer to where we need to be, but I was pleased overall.”
Silver Lake had to prove its worth in the semifinal round of the tournament. The Lady Eagles were trailing 21-16 against Ottawa, which is two classifications higher than Silver Lake. The Lady Eagles were able to mount a comeback against Ottawa. Silver Lake tied the game at 23 and pulled away with two straight kills.
Rossville had to fight and collect a couple of comebacks themselves. The Lady Dawgs lost the first set in a match with Wamego and were able to dominate the remaining two sets. Rossville outscored Wamego 50-32 to give them the confidence boost that they needed to finish out the long day at the gym.
Silver Lake and Rossville weren’t the only county schools in “Dawg Country” on Saturday, with Hayden also making an appearance in the tournament.
Hayden went 2-2 in pool play on Saturday. Hayden defeated Osage City in two sets and Abilene in three sets. Hayden lost two close sets (26-24, 26-24) to Tonganoxie and lost in two sets to tournament champion Silver Lake.
Silver Lake will hope to continue their hot streak as they host St. Marys on Tuesday night. Rossville will hit the road and take on Rock Creek this upcoming Tuesday and Hayden will visit Leavenworth on Thursday.
Shawnee County pool play scores
Rossville def. Ottawa, 25-17, 25-20; Silver Lake def. Tonganoxie, 25-19, 25-20; Hayden def. Osage City, 25-13, 25-23; Rossville def. Wamego, 22-25, 25-14, 25-18; Silver Lake def. Osage City, 25-7, 25-23; Hayden def. Abilene, 25-13, 22-25, 25-20; Rossville def. Pleasant Ridge, 25-22, 28-26; Silver Lake def. Abilene, 25-11, 25-23; Tonganoxie def. Hayden, 26-24, 26-24; Rossville def. Holton, 25-17, 25-18; Silver Lake def. Hayden, 25-11, 25-23.
Semifinals -- Rossville def. Tonganoxie, 25-12, 25-17; Silver Lake def. Ottawa, 25-21, 25-23.
Championship -- Silver Lake def. Rossville, 25-23, 26-24.