EMPORIA — Thomas More Prep-Marian entered the Class 3A state tournament willing to do whatever it took to reach the second day.
Two strong performances to open the tournament were enough to get the job done, with TMP advancing into the semis for the first time.
The Monarchs played like the No. 1-seed they were in the first two matches, picking up wins over Wellsville (25-21, 25-21) and Beloit (25-16, 25-16) in White Auditorium.
The day ended on a sour note with a 25-20, 25-21 loss to Cheney, but TMP coach Natausha Dreher said the Monarchs (40-3) accomplished their main objective.
“Overall, of course I’m happy,” Dreher said. “It’s all about punching that ticket into the semis and we did that.”
After the Monarchs went 1-2 in the tournament and exited early last year, Dreher said experience played a key role in helping TMP get over the hump this year.
She credited her senior class, which consists of Ashley Ostrander, Savannah Yost, Kayla Vitztum, Ciara Seib and Bailey Lacy.
“I’m very happy for the program,” Dreher said. “They said they were going to make it to the semis. They were going to do whatever it took to get there.”
TMP will meet up with up with Hesston in the semifinals at 11 a.m. on Saturday. Hesston (40-3) went 2-1 in pool play, advancing on a tiebreaker. Cheney (37-5) and Nemaha Central will play in the other semifinal.
Dreher said she believes TMP’s best volleyball can still be ahead of them.
“As a coach you always have some areas where you would like to see improvement,” Dreher said.
Class 3A at Emporia
TMP-Marian def. Wellsville 25-21, 25-21; TMP Marian def. Beloit 25-16, 25-16; Cheney def. TMP-Marian 25-20, 25-21; Cheney def. Wellsville 25-15, 25-15; Cheney def. Beloit 25-13, 25-14; Beloit def. Wellsville 25-17, 13-25, 25-18.
Nemaha Central def. Silver Lake, 25-19, 25-22; Nemaha Central def. Erie 25-13, 25-9; Hesston def. Nemaha Central 25-20, 25-19. Silver Lake def. Hesston 18-25, 25-17, 25-19; Silver Lake def. Erie, 25-15, 25-3, Hesston def. Erie 25-9, 25-17.
11 a.m. — Cheney (37-5) vs. Nemaha Central (42-4); Hesston (40-3) vs. TMP-Marian (42-4).