BY CONOR NICHOLL FOR SPORTS IN KANSAS
Doniphan West had its sixth straight season of wins improvement in volleyball this fall. DW had a nine-win bump from 2020 and finished 25-12. It marked the Mustangs’ first winning season in nine-plus years.
In the previous five, Doniphan West went 2-33, 6-24, 8-26, 11-23 and 16-19. In mid-November, senior 5-foot-9 middle blocker Jaiden Taylor earned honorable mention all-state in Class 1A, Division I by the Kansas Volleyball Association. The coaches’ all-state team featured just 21 total players, seven apiece on first, second and honorable mention.
Taylor and Avery Weathersbee each picked up first team all-Twin Valley League, a conference that featured two-time defending state champion Hanover.
In sub-state, Doniphan West finished as runner-up after victories versus Troy and Blue Valley and a 29-27, 29-27 loss to Centralia. Taylor had 10 kills in the match. Andrea Keller completed her fourth year as coach. Weathersbee led Doniphan West with 224 kills and a .225 attack percentage. Taylor finished with 221 kills and a .247 average.
Junior Claire Cole, who plays both volleyball and cross country, had 45 aces. Taylor was second with 38. Taylor easily paced her team with 42 blocks.
Taylor had sizable improvements from her first three years when she collectively tallied 211 kills, 36 aces and 14 blocks.
Doniphan West has enjoyed great success with girls’ sports in the last few years. DW finished first, first and second in state cross country the last three falls. This year, Elle Williams continued her excellent cross country and track career with a state runner-up showing.
Cole, who has also enjoyed a standout multi-sport career, was 11th in state cross country. Aly Gobin, Emma Albers, Cassidy Blanton, Lily Clark and Lena Leatherman were team members and Keith Edmonds coached.
Last winter, DW was a final four showing in 1A, Division I, also the best season in school history. Weathersbee, Cole and Taylor are on the basketball team.