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Louisburg 2, Basehor-Linwood 1

LANSING – The Louisburg volleyball team’s schedule ramped up Saturday when it traveled to the Lansing Invitational and faced off with several bigger programs and ranked teams.

Louisburg more than held its own as the Lady Cats ventured through pool play undefeated and made it the championship bracket. The final two matches didn’t go as the Lady Cats had hoped as they fell to De Soto and Basehor-Linwood in two sets to settle for fourth overall.

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“The team played well during pool play,” Louisburg coach Jessica Compliment said. “We saw a lot of good teams who challenged us. We got behind in a few matches and rallied back to win so I was pleased to see that fight in them.

“We had some great defensive plays throughout the day which helped lift up our offense and lit a fire under the players and team.”

The Lady Cats opened the tournament against Frontier League foe, Spring Hill, and came away with a 25-19 and 26-24 win, thanks in part to their defense.

Sophomore libero Riley Kallevig recorded a team-high 17 digs and senior Sophie McMullen added 13 in the win. Junior Anna Dixon led the way offensively with 14 kills and McMullen added eight.

Louisburg was able to exact some revenge for a loss earlier in the season, when the Lady Cats (12-4) knocked off Basehor-Linwood in the second pool play match, 25-20, 22-25 and 25-16.

McMullen led the Lady Cats from behind the service line as she recorded six of the nine aces during the three-set match. Dixon and McMullen also came up big at the net as the notched 19 and 11 kills, respectively. Carson Buffington led Louisburg offense with 32 assists.

Defense was again key for Louisburg as McMullen tallied 20 digs, while sophomore Reilly Ratliff-Becher had 12. Buffington also had 11 digs in the win.

The Lady Cats, who are currently ranked No. 4 in Class 4A-Division I, had an easy time against Topeka Seaman in a 25-18, 25-15 victory, but they had a tussle in their final pool play match.

Louisburg faced off with Shawnee Mission West, a Class 6A program, and won in three sets – 25-19, 17-25 and 28-26.

Dixon came up big in the match as she led the Lady Cats in three different categories. Dixon finished with six aces, 19 kills and also had 10 digs on defense.

Sophomore libero Riley Kallevig saves a ball from going out-of-bounds Thursday against Lansing.

McMullen added 16 kills in the victory, while Buffington handed out 33 assists in what was a frantic match.

The championship bracket proved to be much tougher for the Lady Cats as they met De Soto in the semifinals. De Soto, which is ranked No. 6 in Class 5A, downed Louisburg 25-19 and 26-24.

“We played well against De Soto, but made a few too many mistakes that they capitalized on that cost us in the end,” Compliment said. “The second match was a well-played match, but we came up short.”

The Lady Cats had a rematch with Basehor-Linwood in the third-place match and came up short this time in a 25-22 and 25-21 loss.

“The Lansing tournament is full of good teams, but it is also a long day with six matches,” Compliment said. “I think fatigue played a role during the last match with Basehor, but it’s also not an excuse for how we came out with zero energy. I would have liked to see more of a fight out of the team, but they were exhausted. Basehor had more energy and made fewer mistakes than we did during the last match.”

In the tournament overall, McMullen had a big day for the Lady Cats, especially on defense. She racked up a team-high 74 digs and also had 58 kills to go along with a team-high 16 aces.

Dixon led the Lady Cats offensively with a team-high 79 kills, 11 blocks and eight aces.

Buffington, the team’s setter, finished the day with 142 assists to go along with 39 digs. Kallevig was second on the team with 64 digs and also had seven aces.

Haley Cain (20 kills, five blocks), Ratliff-Becher (30 digs) and Mikayla Quinn (eight kills, six blocks) also came up big at times throughout the day.