The Smoky Valley Volleyball program has been a mainstay at the 3A State Tournament the last few seasons, making appearances in each of the last three years, including a runner-up finish in 2020 and a third place showing in 2021.
Last year, Smoky Valley was unable to advance out of pool play, but they return six letterwinners for this season and will look for another trip to Hutchinson as practices begin this week.
The Lady Vikings bolster a roster of three returning 1st Team All-CKL performers from last season, such as Senior Setter Adrian Hazelwood, Senior Outside Hitter Hope Duncan, and Junior Middle Katja Blanchat.
Hazelwood posted an impressive 930 assists in 2022 and has amassed nearly 1900 over the past two years combined. Duncan is a versatile Outside which tallied 426 kills last year, coupled with a stellar defensive effort of 423 digs. And Blanchat secured 384 kills as well, meaning the Vikings certainly won’t have an empty cupboard for Head Coach Doug Schneider, who will enter his second-straight season as the leader of the team, and 12th year overall in Lindsborg.
“Our primary goal this year is to play our best night in and night out and give ourselves a chance to be back in Hutchinson for 3A State again this year,” said Coach Schneider in his season prospectus.
In addition to the All-Central Kansas League performers, Smoky Valley will also see elevated roles for Senior Outside Hitter Avery Alstedt, Senior Middle Tinley Scott, and Senior Defensive Specialist Breanne Peters, who all played well for Coach Schneider a season ago. Alstedt and Scott combined for over 280 kills last season, while Peters posted 138 digs.
Last year, the Vikings posted 32 wins, and an 8-1 mark in CKL play for a second place finish, but have their eyes on a bigger and better finish to 2023.
They’ll get the season opened up on Saturday, August 26th when the team takes on the Central Kansas League Preseason Tournament in Haven, where the Vikings will have a chance to see exactly where they stack up within their highly-competitive league right away.
Smoky Valley will host a trio of triangulars during the season, with the first taking place on Monday, September 11th as Haven and Ellinwood pay the Vikings a visit. Then, on September 19th Cheney and Hoisington will visit for the second. And on September 26th Haven and Larned will square up with the Vikings.
Fans can stay up-to-date on all things Smoky Valley with results and updates posted to KSAL.com each week.