By CONOR NICHOLL
Paced by senior Tayven Sutton’s serving and all-around play from 5-foot-8 middle hitter Janae Granere, Marmaton Valley volleyball has delivered another strong season after years of struggle. Two falls ago, MV finished 20-12 and lost in the state quarterfinals. Last year produced a 24-14 record and sub-state semifinal loss to St. Paul.
This season, MV stands at 18-11 and in second place in the Class 1A, Division I Madison sub-state. Colony-Crest paces the sub-state with a 24-6 record.
MV stands second, while Olpe is third at 17-12. The rest of the sub-state includes Marais des Cygnes Valley (11-8), Yates Center (10-17), Madison/Hamilton (7-15) and Oswego (8-20).
Last Saturday, Marmaton Valley finished third at the Uniontown Invitational with a 3-1 record. MV defeated Uniontown in three sets, fell to Southern Coffey County in three sets and beat Galena and Arma-Northeast in two sets.
Sutton is currently seventh in Kansas with 67 aces, per the latest MaxPreps statistical release. The Wildcats are a darkhorse contender to qualify for the state tournament. Marmaton Valley has played a remarkable 11 three-set matches and stands at 4-7 in those contests.
MV is 0-3 against Colony-Crest with the last two losses in three sets.
The Wildcats list nine players on the roster. MV has four seniors: outside hitters Madison Lawson, Roslyn Houk and Kaitlyn Drake and Sutton at setter.
The juniors are middle hitter Payton Scharff, Granere, and setter Maider Arbulu. Five-foot-10 middle hitter Piper Barney is the lone sophomore. Braelyn Sutton is the only freshman.
Granere and Tayven pace with 131 and 105 kills, respectively. Granere carries a .237 hitting percentage, easily the squad’s best. Overall, MV has 281 aces against just 214 receiving errors. Granere paces with 35 blocks and 220 digs.
Tayven and Braelyn lead with 213 and 111 assists, respectively.
Before this season’s two wins against Uniontown, Marmaton Valley was 6-12 in its last 18 matches versus UHS. From ’17-19, MV was significantly under .500. The 2020 quarterfinalist team represents the furthest advancement for the Wildcats in at least 10 years, per KSHSAA archives.
Marmaton Valley girls has enjoyed success in the last year. At state track last spring, Granere was fourth in the triple jump at 35 feet, 0.25 inches, eighth in the long jump and tenth in the 1A 400 dash.
Barney was seventh in the triple jump and qualified in the 300 hurdles. Drake was ninth in the high jump. Maramaton Valley girls have won back-to-back league track titles.
In 2021, Granere was third in the 1A long jump and fifth in the triple jump. She was the only non-senior to qualify for state track that year for MV. In ’19, MV girls qualified one athlete to state track.
Drake, Tayven Sutton and Granere helped with a key turnaround in basketball last winter. MV went from 4-12 to 11-7, which marked girls’ basketball’s best record in more than a decade. Granere was a first team unanimous all-league player.