(Tribune photo/Scott Nuzum)
The fourth-seeded Tigers, whose 21-15 record was the school's best since going 27-10 in 2002, defeated No. 5 Riverton in the first round, 25-20, 25-9, ending the Rams' season at 18-15.
"We played well in the first match," Bingesser said. "Riverton was good but it was a nice chance for us to get on track. The girls played really well. We had good hitting and things worked out well for us in that first game."
Girard, the top seed, swept No. 8 Prairie View in the first round, 25-9, 25-19, while No. 2 Chanute swept No. 7 Columbus, 25-21, 25-20, and No. 3 Anderson County had to rally form a one-game deficit to beat No. 6 Iola, 17-25, 25-21, 25-14.
The Tigers then had to face a powerful Girard team (30-6). By looking at the Trojan's roster and looking at the heights of their players, you wouldn't think Girard would have powerful hitting like they do But their defense picks up everything and they play very well at the net, bringing surprising power from 5' 6' junior Carly Twarog and 5' 6" Haley Brown and 5' 7" Kylie Kunshek, both sophomores.
But bring it they do and the Tigers had difficulty scoring on the Trojans, who jumped out to a 17-5 lead in the first game on their way to winning 25-11.
Girard also jumped out to an 8-2 lead in the second game although the Tigers fought back as a kill by freshman Mallory Shelton on a free ball at the net brought Fort Scott within 10-7.
But the Trojans rolled off the next six capped by Kunshek's ace serve and eventually found themselves up 19-8 before the Tigers got another rally going. Back-to-back kills by senior Annie Gladbach closed the gap to 19-12. Another one of her kills later closed the deficit to six points, 22-16 before Girard scored the last three points ending it when Kunshek took care of a free ball at the net.
"The thing with Girard is that their defense is unstoppable," Bingesser said. "They don't let a single ball hit the floor. And the balls that we would normally get to the floor, they'd pick it right up. And it's such a momentum breaker when you think you get a really good hit but they pick it up and put it right back at you. Their defense is what keeps them alive at all times."
Chanute (26-12) needed three games to beat Anderson County (23-14). The Bulldogs won the first game 25-17, but Chanute took the second 25-21 and dominated the third, 25-14.
Girard jumped out to leads of 9-3 and 15-7 in the first game of the final as Twarog dominated at the net. And when she rotated to the back row, Kunshek took over with some help from Brown.
The Blue Comets managed to rally and got within 18-15 and then 22-18 before finally rallying 25-19.
Blocks by juniors Morgan Boore and Andi Umbarger got the Trojans off to a good start in the second game as Girard went out to a 10-5 lead.
The Comets rallied with left-hander Ali Aylward taking control, getting five kills during a 6-1 run that put Chanute in the lead, 15-13.
The lead as short-lived as Twarog's kill also killed Chanute's momentum and the Trojans ended the match with a 12-2 run as they took the second game, 25-17.
Even if Girard is knocked out of this weekend's Class 4A State Tournament early, the Trojans will be a factor to contend with next season as there are only three seniors on the roster. Two of them do play a bit but neither are among Girard's big threats.
Meanwhile, Bingesser reflected on her team's performance as the high-school careers of seniors Gldbach, Bingesser, Kelli Davis, Meghan Butler, Alanna Masterson, Monica Dikeman and Shelby Nafzger came to a close.
"This was by far the best team I've ever coached as far as unity goes and just getting along," Bingesser said. "We had great practices. We had a roller-coaster ride as far as our season went. But for the girls to stay on top and never let anything get them down was a real plus for us."