Volleyball in Kansas: Looking at the Van Gorp tournament, individual milestones ranging from 200 to 3,000, 3A sub-states and 1A-I top teams

By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas

This week, Sports In Kansas looks at Olathe Heritage Christian, a bevy of individual milestones across the state, and intriguing Class 1A, Division I – a class with an undefeated team and a number of new ranked squads. Plus, KSHSAA released its new volleyball sub-states, and plenty of storylines in Class 3A.goog

Heritage Christian sees winning streak end in overall special weekend

Janice (Ninemire) Van Gorp is well-known in the Kansas City area. She graduated from Shawnee Mission Northwest after a standout career in volleyball, basketball and track. She earned first team all-conference volleyball at Iowa State.

Van Gorp taught and coached at Shawnee Mission North and Heritage Christian. She led SMN to a state title in ’02 and then built Heritage Christian into a state contender. She unexpectedly passed away in ’15 at the age of 46. Shawnee Mission Northwest has a tournament in her honor that started in 2017. Her daughter, Rachel Van Gorp, helped Heritage Christian to the 2A state title last year.

This past week, HCA, the defending 2A state champions, went 2-2 at the Van Gorp tournament. The competition has 16 teams, and Blue Valley North won the tournament. BVN is ranked second in Class 6A. Blue Valley North is 22-2 and has won seven matches in a row. Freshman Logan Parks paces the offense with 148 kills and a .282 average, and senior Jasmine Dulan has 106 kills. Seniors Morgan DeBow (6-foot-2) and Clara Benskin (6-1) have 40 and 37 blocks, respectively. Junior Nora Carlsen has 141 digs. Sophomore Janelle Green has 224 assists and Parks has 172. DeBow has committed to Division I Nebraska-Omaha volleyball. Benskin has committed to Division II University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Dulan is a volleyball and track standout.

HCA, which has often played and beaten much larger schools, had its 39-match winning streak end with a 25-19, 25-17 loss to 6A Lawrence Free State. HCA’s last loss came at the Van Gorp tournament last season. HCA opened the tournament with wins against Lincoln Prep (Mo.) and Bonner Springs.

Jessa Rose earned HCA’s “Fearless Spirit Award” at the Janice Van Gorp Memorial Tournament. Rose has committed to Colorado Christian volleyball. HCA is ranked second in 3A when the new classifications were released. Rose is listed as HCA’s lone senior.

Heritage Christian’s key players include junior setter Maci Hazel and standout sophomores Grace Schmedding, Rachel Van Gorp and Cy Rae Campbell. Van Gorp has 186 kills with a .375 hitting percentage. Campbell is at 133 kills with a .357 hitting percentage. Schmedding has 100 kills. Hazel paces with 40 aces. Rose easily paces Heritage Christian with 134 digs.

Among other Fearless Spirit winners, sophomore libero/defensive specialist Remi Nuss picked up the honor for Blue Valley Northwest. Nuss is also a tremendous beach volleyball player. The Fearless Spirit awards are voted on by teammates and exhibit someone who is fearless, selfless and has strong morals and values. BV Northwest finished 5-1 at the tournament.

Milestones reached: 200, 500, 1,000, 1,500, 2,000 and 3,000

A number of top players across the state hit key milestones in the last few days, per SIK research, MaxPreps archives and team information.

Thomas More Prep-Marian senior duo of Emilee Lane and Kassidi Yost are both returning all-state players and both cleared respective milestones. Lane has 262 kills in 2021, and Yost has 462 assists. Yost cleared 2,000 career assists and is now at 2,215. She also recently cleared 500 digs and 500 kills – and stands at 581 digs and 535 kills. The 6-foot Lane, a Nebraska-Kearney commit, recently went over 1,500 kills with 1,543. TMP is ranked No. 9 in 3A.

Holcomb senior Nicole Ruda went over 1,000 career kills and has helped the Longhorns to a 28-1 season.

Ottawa’s Kirsten Evans went over 3,000 career assists.

Ellinwood setter Mary Dimitt reached 1,000 career assists. Dimitt and Ellinwood were featured on SIK earlier this season. Ellinwood is ranked sixth in 2A.

McPherson’s Rhian Swanson picked up her 1,500 career kill. Swanson has committed to KU. McPherson is ranked second in 4A.

Emporia senior setter Grace Xu has 500 assists this year. The 6-foot-2 senior captain is now at 1,225 career assists. She cleared 1,000 career digs on Sept. 11. Grace’s dad is the longtime volleyball coaches at Emporia State.

Meade senior setter Kiana Unruh has 462 assists this season and is expected to clear 2,000 assists this week. Meade took its first loss this year in a two-set defeat to Coldwater-South Central on Sept. 28. She is currently at 1,991 assists. Meade is ranked eighth in 2A.

Herington senior Halle Rutschman has 351 digs and went over 1,000 career digs earlier this year. The 5-foot-9 Rutschman has 1,219 career digs. She also has 464 kills and 95 aces – and should reach 500 kills and 100 aces soon.

Beloit senior setter Makenzie Travis has cleared over 2,000 career assists.

Beloit stands at 22-7. A four-year player, Travis helped Beloit set a single season team record for assists earlier in her career. On Saturday, she helped Beloit earn a three-set win against Smith Center (26-24, 15-25, 25-22) in the Concordia tournament finale. Beloit coach Brandy Paul confirmed in an email to SIK on Monday morning that Travis is just the second setter in Paul’s era to clear 2,000 assists.

Wilson set from ’13-16 and played in a 5-1 offense. Wilson holds the single season assist record. Travis has always played in a 6-2 offense with two setters and still generated a high number of assists. Paul said Travis cleared 2,000 in the Southeast of Saline matchup last Tuesday.

“Pretty big accomplishment,” Paul said.

Lansing senior Kamryn Farris has 251 digs and just cleared 1,000 career digs. She will clear 1,500 serve receptions soon.

Lansing has been ranked top-25 nationally this year. This past weekend, Lansing won the Spring Hill tournament with a 5-0 record and improved to 23-1 with a 23-game winning streak.

Farris, featured multiple times on SIK last year in volleyball and basketball, has 1,008 career digs and 1,453 serve receptions. The 5-foot-11 Farris has delivered at least four digs per set in each of the past three years, all elite marks. Farris has service returned at 95 percent in her career, including 96 percent this year. Lansing is ranked third in 5A.

Riverton junior Jacy Thomasson earned attention for her prolific career and surpassing 1,000 career kills. She also surpassed 200 career blocks on Saturday in a tournament against several out-of-state schools. Thomasson has 207 career blocks. Riverton is sixth in 3A.

Class 3A Top Sub-States

In the next few weeks, Sports In Kansas will take a look at various classification sub-states. Late last week, KSHSAA announced the sub-state pairings. Class 3A is very deep, but historically KSHSAA has clumped several top teams together in the same sub-states. That occurred again this year.

Last Thursday, the top-10 3A teams in the Kansas Volleyball Association coaches rankings went: Smoky Valley, Heritage Christian, Cheney, Nemaha Central, Hiawatha, Riverton, Eureka, Goodland, Thomas More Prep-Marian and Phillipsburg. The rankings do not include 28-1 Holcomb, two-loss Trinity Academy or Nickerson.

TMP, Beloit and Phillipsburg are in the same Russell sub-state. Beloit beat TMP in five sets in the season opener, and TMP beat Phillipsburg last week. The teams are all at least 18-7 or better.

Goodland and Holcomb are in the same sub-state – one that has featured a bevy of three-set matches in the regular season.

Nickerson and Cheney are in the same Nickerson sub-state, and Nemaha Central and Hiawatha are also in the same one at Sabetha.

Riverton (25-2-1) and Girard (22-6) lead the Baxter Springs sub-state, followed by Frontenac (16-5) and Baxter Springs (18-9) in the Baxter Springs sub-state. Thomasson, who recently passed 1,000 career kills and is among the state leaders in multiple categories. She has a Pittsburg State offer. Thomasson is now at 1,216 kills and a .383 average.

Riverton has two-set win versus Sept. 21 and beat Baxter Springs on Sept. 2. Riverton beat Frontenac last year, which ended a six-game losing streak in the series. Riverton and Frontenac have not played each other season.

The Halstead sub-state features Trinity Academy (15-2), Smoky Valley (21-3) and Council Grove (18-3). Those three teams have not played each in recent years. Eureka (22-0) paces the Humboldt sub-state.

The Lakin sub-state is highly challenging with four teams that have won at least 74 percent of matches: Holcomb (23-1), Goodland (20-3), Scott City (16-5) and Lakin (20-7). These four teams, especially Holcomb, Goodland and Scott City, are very experienced. Holcomb beat Goodland in three sets, which ended a stretch of five straight losses in the series.

Holcomb’s only loss came in three sets versus Scott City on Sept. 23. Holcomb has nine seniors, Scott City with six: Kennedy Holstein, Ella Rumford, Brooklynne Zielke, Payton Goodman, Amber Latta and Alli Patton. This past weekend, Scott City won its own tournament with a 4-1 mark. SC beat Lebo, 28-26. 25-23 to win the title.

Goodland also lost to Scott City in three sets on Sept. 13. Goodland defeated Lakin in three sets on Sept. 13.

Lakin is 0-3 against Goodland, Scott City and Holcomb, all with three-set losses. Lakin has one senior on its roster, libero Emily Munson.

Goodland has its four experienced girls that are at least 5-11: senior Emma Lehman and junior trio of Olivia Lehman, Lindsey Cure, and Talexa Weeter.

Weeter, Cure and Emma Lehman have all recorded between 104 and 172 kills. Sophomore Jaxi Mitchek has 131 kills. Cure is among the state’s top blockers with 49 blocks. Weeter paces with 132 digs. (Editor’s Note: Check out more on Holcomb volleyball this week as the Longhorns are the American Implement Team of the Week).

At Nickerson, Cheney is 22-1, and Nickerson stands at 21-7. Nickerson dropped down to 3A when new classes were released in the last couple of weeks. Nickerson has first-year coach Payton Scheer, who is a Cheney graduate. Cheney coach Sara Walkup cleared 400 career wins before her 500th career match this fall.

Cheney has won 19 in a row and has lost just four sets all season. The Cardinals have seven seniors: Korri Lies, Carsyn Frieden, Abby Griffin, 5-10 Lacy Luehrs, 5-10 Olivia Albers, setter Brooklyn Wewe and Jayleigh Wehrman. Plus, a junior trio of Anna, Elina Bartlett and 6-foot-1 Campbell Hague. Albers paces with 129 kills, while Hague has 88 and Martin with 84.

Lies, the consensus 3A softball player of the year last spring, leads with 194 digs. Albers has 171 and Wewe has 146. Wewe has 335 assists and has 1,370 assists in her career.

Nickerson has its loaded team, including junior setter Josie McLean, who has 437 assists this season and more than 1,100 in her career.

The Sabetha sub-state is loaded every year. This season is no exception. Seven teams have won at least 60 percent of its matches. Hiawatha is 19-3, and Nemaha Central stands at 24-3. Rossville (18-4), Marysville (20-9), Pleasant Ridge (16-8), Royal Valley (14-8) and Sabetha (11-7, defending 3A champions).

Hiawatha has made a nice improvement after a 15-10 season last year. Senior 5-11 Sarah Madsen has enjoyed a big year with 186 kills and a .377 average. Madsen has played many roles and positions throughout her career and earned all-league honors in back-to-back years.

Nemaha Central has won 10 matches in a row. Hiawatha beat Nemaha Central on Aug. 31, but NC won on Sept. 28. Nemaha Central is slated to play Sabetha on Tuesday. NC beat Royal Valley twice in late August with another matchup on Oct. 12. Plus, Nemaha Central has wins against Marysville and Pleasant Ridge.

The West Franklin sub-state has Heritage Christian (23-2), Silver Lake (22-7), and West Franklin (20-7). Five teams have won at least 59 percent of its matches. OHC drops down to 3A as the classification’s smallest school after it won 2A last year.

Seaton posting big year as Basehor-Linwood continues to win

Basehor-Linwood won the Ottawa tournament with a 4-1 mark. Basehor-Linwood defeated Bishop Miege, Louisburg, Olathe West and Ottawa and improved to 20-6.

Basehor-Linwood’s Mila Seaton was named to the AVCA Under Armour College Prep program. Seaton by far leads the Bobcats with 218 kills.

B-L senior Jordan Knipp and Seaton both have 45 aces, which each rank in the top-20 in Kansas. Knipp is second with 115 kills. Senior Emma Horton has 26 blocks. Seaton also paces with 125 digs, just ahead of 121 from Knipp and junior Taylor Cruse.

Seaton, a defensive specialist/outside hitter and also a top softball player, paced the Bobcats with 239 kills last year. Basehor-Linwood moved from tenth to ninth in 5A.

This Tuesday, B-L will celebrate Senior Night for its five seniors. B-L was 8-19 last season.

Inman with key stat leaders on a deep squad; wins Burrton tournament

Inman has four impressive players. Senior middle hitter Reagan Brake has 264 kills and a highly impressive 114 blocks, 105 solo.

Sophomore middle Chloe Schmidt has 136 kills on 293 attacks, along with 48 blocks. Junior setter Daityn Raney has 577 assists. Senior libero Fiona McLain has 31 aces.

Under coach Megan Heckel, Inman is 20-8 after a 27-8 year last fall. Inman is deep with 10 girls, and Raney is the only one who plays all the way around. Inman moved into the 2A rankings at No. 10 this year.

Inman went 5-0 and won the Burrton tournament. Brake, McClain and Raney were all-tournament selections.

Victoria up to No. 1 in Class 1A-1 in wide-open classification

Class 1A, Division I has become more wide-open in the last several weeks once Lebo and Central Plains dropped to Division II in the most recent classification release. In the latest rankings, Little River and Victoria flipped in the first two spots. None of the 1A-I teams have fewer than four losses – except Victoria and St. Paul. SP moved up from Division II.

In the latest rankings, Victoria, Little River, Kiowa County, Pretty Prairie and Centralia are the top-five. Then, St. Paul, Spearville, Burlingame, South Gray and surprise Ness City round out the top-10. Spearville, Burlingame and Ness City were not ranked last week. For all classes, six non-ranked (NR) schools entered the rankings this past week. Three were in Division I.

Victoria is 20-0 and has lost just two sets all year. This Tuesday, the Knights have a huge Central Prairie League triangular against Ellinwood (19-3) and Central Plains (two-time defending champions). Victoria has seniors Kaitlyn Windholz, Melany Huser, Jessica Schroeder, Kassi Weber and Cadence Dickey for coach Sarah Nuss.

Weber and Huser pace with 169 and 159 kills, respectively. Weber leads with 41 aces, and Huser with 152 digs. Windholz has 252 assists, and junior Janet Hugunin has 195 assists.

Pretty Prairie won the Kingman tournament with a 6-0 mark and didn’t lose a set. PP is 24-4 and has won 12 in a row. Pretty Prairie is highly talented with Carli Stucky, Aubrey Young, Allison Colton, Cooper Collins, McKenna Vogl and Joley Harbaugh. Vogl has 147 kills and a .272 average. Harbaugh has 110 kills, three less than Young. Five players – Harbaugh, Colton, Collins, Young and Stucky – have between 80 and 125 digs. Young runs the 5-1 offense and has 407 assists.

Little River improved to 23-3 and finished 5-0 on Saturday with two-sets wins versus Canton-Galva, Solomon, Sunrise Christian Academy, Halstead and Marion at the Canton-Galva tournament. LR has won seven in a row. Senior 6-foot-1 Lily Boughfman has 202 kills and a .332 attack percentage. She also paces her team with 40 assists and 171 digs.

Burlingame went through COVID-19 quarantine when the fall started. The Bearcats are 17-4 and played just one match before Sept. 11. The Bearcats have its acclaimed senior duo of Brooke Lewis and Daelyn Winters. Lewis has 200 kills with a .388 average. Winters has 152 kills and 238 assists.

Other top performances

Labette County volleyball continued its strong year with another tournament championship. LC beat Frontenac and then Girard with a 25-17, 29-31, 25-17 victory. Labette County remains undefeated in SEK play.

Hutchinson won the Great Bend championship over Goodland, 25-17, 25-17 and improved to 24-1. Hutchinson beat Phillipsburg in two sets, 25-13, 25-15. Hutchinson is eighth in 6A.

St. Francis won the Oberlin tournament, and Hutchinson Central Christian captured the South Haven tournament.

Linn finished 5-0 and won the Rock Hills tournament. Minneola finished 5-0 and won the Moscow tournament.

Kansas Individual Leaders

Attack Percentage (Kills-Errors/Attacks)

Jackson, Lansing, .484

Heinson, Kiowa County, .470

Thomasson, Riverton, .452

Harris, Atchison, .436

Schutter, Wabaunsee, .418

Bruna, Hanover, .404

Goodenow, St. Thomas Aquinas, .398

Afonja, Baldwin, .396

Ronnebaum, Marysville, .391

Lewis, Burlingame, .388

Rentschler, Smith Center, .386

Mackiewicz, Shawnee Mission Northwest, .384

Greenman, Wichita Southeast, .382

Madsen, Hiawatha, .377

VanGorp, Heritage Christian Academy, .375


Thomasson, Riverton, 332

Budke, Beloit, 279

Harris, Atchison, 265

Brake, Inman, 264

Martin, St. Thomas Aquinas, 262

Lane, Thomas More Prep-Marian, 262

Keebaugh, Ottawa, 260

Knobbe, Sylvan-Lucas, 258

White, Baxter Springs, 249

Mae Van Der Werf, Lansing, 248

Vilott, SM Northwest, 231

Ruda, Holcomb, 231

Afonja, Baldwin, 224

Gray, Sterling, 224

Cullen, Girard, 221

Seaton, Basehor-Linwood, 221


Creason, SM Northwest, 637

Bishop, Lansing, 593

Evans, Ottawa, 582

Raney, Inman, 577

Hottenstein, Humboldt, 544

Cruse, Basehor-Linwood, 535

Horsch, Sterling, 530

Compton, Riverton, 510

Wedman, Blue Valley West, 499

Cummins, Olathe North, 499

Toerber, Valley Heights, 496

Gardner, Spring Hill, 495

Suderman, Hillsboro, 494

McVey, Holcomb, 494

Baker, Baldwin, 487

Hazel, Heritage Christian Academy, 478


Bruce, Atchison, 74

Cook, Coffeyville, 68

Harris, Atchison, 61

Thomasson, Riverton, 60

Dimitt, Ellinwood, 55

Swingle, Attica, 54

Wiles, Beloit St. John’s/Tipton, 51

Heglin, Syracuse, 51

Murrow, Humboldt, 50

Compton, Riverton, 48

Wadley, Wichita Southeast, 47

Garcia, Flinthills, 46

Knipp, Basehor-Linwood, 45

Mallatt, Riverton, 45

Seaton, Basehor-Linwood, 45


Afonja, Baldwin, 119

Brake, Inman, 114

Hawkinson, McPherson, 105

Warren, Olathe West, 101

Coughlin, Olpe, 100

Gray, Sterling, 84

Alt, Herington, 82

Schutter, Wabaunsee, 81

Schurle, Clay Center, 77

Mackiewicz, SM Northwest, 76

McDonald, SM East, 75

Hermreck, Olathe West, 74

Ta. Rentschler, Smith Center, 72

Ptacek, Eureka, 70

Tolle, Smoky Valley, 70

Luna, Great Bend, 67


Kieffer, SM West, 356

Rutschman, Herington, 351

Hoffman, Udall, 350

Williams, Udall, 346

Dean, Labette County, 329

Foster, Derby, 309

Clemence, Abilene, 305

McMillan, Beloit, 294

Koontz, Newton, 292

Jessop, A. Central, 290

Jones, Yates Center, 286

Curtis, Winfield, 281

Heredia, Pratt, 277

Alloway, Labette County, 276

Wecker, Olpe, 274

Lane, Clay Center, 274

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