By RICK PETERSON
Reigning Class 6A volleyball champion Washburn Rural rolled to the Centennial League championship Saturday at Manhattan, posting a perfect 5-0 record in the round-robin event to stretch its winning streak to seven matches.
The Junior Blues, now 13-7 on the season, lost just one set on the day while posting victories over league foes Emporia (25-16, 25-15), Junction City (25-16, 25-8), Manhattan (25-14, 23-25, 25-14), Topeka High (25-15, 25-12) and Hayden (25-20, 25-22).
"We are making pretty good strides in what we need to do and how we are playing,'' Washburn Rural coach Kevin Bordewick said. "We didn't necessarily play our best on Saturday, but we are getting better at all aspects of the game.
"We really just need to be more consistent and maybe understand game situations better.''
Washburn Rural has played a brutal non-league schedule against many of the top teams in Kansas, which Bordewick is hopeful will pay dividends in the home stretch of the 2023 season. The Junior Blues have also benefitted from the return of senior All-Stater Zoe Canfield, who missed the early part of the season while recovering from an ACL injury suffered during the 2022-2023 basketball season.
"We have played a tougher schedule earlier than what we had last year, and it is a process of getting better that we have to emphasize every day in practice,'' Bordewick said. "We are also getting Zoe worked into the rotations, and having a four-year starter back is always a benefit.''
Hayden posted a 2-3 record in the Centennial League tournament, with wins over Junction City and Topeka High, while the Trojans went 0-5 on the day.
Rossville wins Silver Lake tourney title
Rossville's volleyball team won the tournament championship in Saturday's Silver Lake Invitational, posting a 25-22, 25-13 victory over Perry-Lecompton in the title match.
The Bulldawgs posted a tough 25-19, 18-25, 25-22 win over tournament host Silver Lake to reach the championship match.
Rural soccer second in Iowa tournament
Washburn Rural boys soccer finished second in the Great River Classic at Bettendorg, Iowa, with the Junior Blues dropping a 3-1 decision to Elgin, Ill. in Saturday's tournament championship game.
The Junior Blues fell to 10-1-0 on the season after 10 straight wins to open their 2023 campaign.
Sophomore Drew Moore scored Rural's goal while senior Lawsen Lobatos-Dick was credited with the assist.
The Junior Blues will be at home Thursday to host Blue Valley West in a non-league contest at McElroy Field.