Hot Cyclones roll into state tourney’s Final 4
The Ottawa High School volleyball caught fire at the right time.
The Cyclones have won 10 straight matches and 13 of their past 15 matches during their state tournament run.
Ottawa advanced to the Final 4 of the 4A State Tournament Tuesday with a quarterfinal win over Labette County. Ottawa swept the best-of-5 match, 25-5, 25-10, 25-19, on Labette’s home floor.
The KSHSAA changed the state tournament format this season because of COVID-19. The four teams remaining will play five best-of-3 matches in one day to decide the state champion.
The Final 4 teams — Ottawa, Andale, McPherson and Miege — play a round-robin format during pool play Friday in Hutchinson. Pool play matches are at 10:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m.
The semifinals — which pits the top team in pool play against fourth place and No. 2 versus No.3 — at 3 p.m. The championship and third-place matches begin 25 minutes following the semifinal matches.
Third-seeded Ottawa (23-13) plays fourth-seeded Miege (17-11) in the first pool match. Miege handed Ottawa its last loss in three sets earlier this month.
Miege is the premier volleyball program in the state. The Stags are making their 32nd state appearance and 27th state tournament Final 4 appearance. Miege won 18 state titles.
Ottawa plays top-seeded Andale (34-2 ) in the second pool match and No. 2-seeded McPherson (33-3) to conclude pool play.
The Cyclones made quick work of Labette County, never trailing in any of the sets in their quarterfinal match. Ottawa scored the first 13 points of the first set and cruised to the victory.
The Cyclones jumped to an early 8-2 lead in the second set. Ottawa stretched the lead to 14-5 and 20-9. Ottawa won five of the final six points of the set to take a 2-0 lead.
The third set was full of runs by each team. The set was tied at 3-3 when Ottawa went on a 9-1 spurt to open a 12-4 lead. Labette County answered with a 6-1 run to rally within 13-10.
Ottawa stretched the lead to six at 16-10 and 19-13. The Cyclones caught fire again and led 22-14, but the Grizzlies scored four straight to come within 22-18.
Ottawa won three of the final four points to secure a spot in the state tourney’s Final 4.
10:45 a.m. Ottawa vs. (4) Miege
11:45 a.m. Ottawa vs. (1) Andale
12:45 p.m. Ottawa vs. (2) McPherson
3 p.m. Semifinals (1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3) with championship and third-place matches 25 minutes following semifinal matches.