By MAGGIE GEBHARDT
LOGAN -- The Logan High School volleyball team is state tournament bound this weekend for the second consecutive year. The two-day battle for the Class 1A Division II title begins Friday at Gross Memorial Coliseum on the Fort Hays State University.
The Trojans beat Almena-Northern Valley in sub-state title game Saturday to advance.
"They have been a group of kids that you can never count out," said head coach Robin Van Laeys. "When the going gets tough, they find a way to make things happen."
The Trojans are 32-6 entering state.
"The team has been phenomenal since their opening match on Sept. 22," said Kellen Adams, Logan High School principal. "This is an excellent team -- who they are as students and who they are as people. I appreciate the way they handle themselves on and off the court."
Five seniors make up a strong core of the team, so they play with compatibility from their history together, their coach said.
"We feel like we have a little experience under our belt, and because of this, we hope to play well," Van Laeys said.
Logan consists of only 53 students, and 21 of them are on the volleyball team, according to the head coach.
"The whole school is really excited for the girls," Van Laeys said.
Logan is a small enough school that it is much like a family. Younger students admire the upperclassmen a great deal, according to the high school principal.
"What is really cool here, with a small school like us, we are able to see involvement with our elementary and junior high kids as well," Adams said. "They see those girls in the hallway and know they are excellent role models. Now, the kids have a chance to watch their role models perform at one of the highest stages."
Outside the school doors, the town of Logan is rallying behind the team and displaying its pride.
"Our community is amazing. We have had so much support through the year," Van Laeys said. "At sub-state, our crowd was huge. It's impacting. The emotions of the game are certainly effected by the crowd."
The school board is thankful for the support of the town for many reasons. Residents coming together to cheer on the Trojans speaks volumes, and the confidence the public has in the team affects the students in a positive way.
"It's a great experience for our kids to be able to see how much the community bans together and supports them," Adams said. "Everyone has become more interested, and their support has just snowballed. I anticipate that starting Friday morning, it will be a ghost town here. Everyone will be in Hays."
Logan is in the same pool as Argonia, Beloit-St. John's/Tipton and Axtell.
The other pool features area schools Sharon Springs, Grainfield-Wheatland-Grinnell and Sylvan-Lucas Unified, as well as Fowler. Action begins at 8:30 a.m. for the Division II tourney.
The top two teams in each side after Friday's pool play advance to Saturday's 10 a.m. semifinals.
In the afternoon session beginning at 3:30 p.m., the Class 1A Division I state tourney will begin.
Two area teams, Hoxie and La Crosse, are in Pool II. Hoxie is 34-2 this year and the defending state runner-up, while La Crosse is making a return trip as well and is 27-11.
Defending state champ Centralia and Pratt-Skyline also are in the pool.
The top two teams in each pool advance to Saturday's 2 p.m. semifinals.