Smith Center coach Nick Linn was looking for his team to raise its level of play for the second day of the Class 2A state volleyball tournament.
It didn’t result in a state championship, but Linn had no complaints about the performance the Lady Red turned in on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
After falling in three sets to eventual state champion Garden Plain in the semifinals, Smith Center dominated Pittsburg-Colgan in two sets, 25-14, 25-17, to take third place.
“I’m really happy with our kids,” Linn said. “We could’ve folded. We wanted to be on the other end of the court, but I think we played just as even with the team that won the title today.”
Smith Center went 4-1 on the weekend and finished the season 39-6, notching a school record for wins.
The Lady Red had their moments in the semifinal against Garden Plain. They dropped the first set, 25-14 but regrouped for a 25-17 win in the second set before falling 25-18 in the third. The Owls went on to win the championship in two sets against Wabaunsee, which knocked off previously unbeaten Colgan in the semifinals.
“I think the effort was there,” Linn said. “We played hard. We didn’t make all the plays, but I’m so grateful to have the kids that I have.”
Smith Center had four seniors — Gracen Hutchinson, Katelin Shellito, Holly Timmons and Adalynne Haresnape. The Lady Red will return a strong group of juniors, including Bree Frieling, Lizzy Pfortmiller and Jessalyn Kirchhoff. Tallon Rentschler will also be back after a solid freshman season.
“We had a lot of things that we did right this year, and hopefully it will carry over to next,” Linn said.