(Kenny Felt/Special to the Tribune)
Hours later, the Greyhounds lived up to the ranking by dispatching Hesston in three sets, 25-14, 25-20, 25-16, in a Region VI Division II seeding match.
It's been since at least 1989 or 1990 since the Greyhounds would have been last ranked in the NJCAA poll. Kerry Messersmith, now head coach at Alabama-Birmingham, was the coach at that time. Fort Scott won the Jayhawk Conference-Eastern Division outright in 1989 and tied for the division title in 1990.
More good news came from the Jayhawk Conference earlier in the day as Eureka sophomore setter Taylyn Schwartz was named KJCCC-Eastern Division Player of the Week. She is currently ranked third nationally in assists per set (10.71).
Schwartz handed out 38 assists Wednesday night and Fort Scott's starting front line of sophomores Ali Cure and Ashley Bell and Uniontown freshman Jacy Ermel combined for 31 kills.
"We struggled a bit in the second set but overall we did a lot of good things and we got a lot of players in, which was a plus," Fort Scott head coach Lindsay Hill said.
The Greyhounds improved to 9-1 overall while Hesston dropped to 7-6. Bell had 11 blocks while Cure and Ermel had 10 each.
Hill said the Greyhound coaching staff had told Ermel she needed to earn more points for the team and she came through in the third set, scoring six of her kills. She was responsible for four of Fort Scott's first five points in the set.
"She understands what she needs to do," Hill said, "and she's applying it. The same with Danielle (Walker)."
Walker had to step in after Haylee Toothman tried to give it a go despite an injured thigh. Toothman had to come out and the 5' 8" freshman from Joplin performed well on the front line. Sarah Williams, a Topeka freshman, played for Toothman on the back line.
Fort Scott had an 18-8 lead in the first set before Hesston made some headway. The Larks led the second set 16-10 but the 'Hounds took control, scoring 11 of the next 12 points.
The third set had a more back-and-forth pace but Hesston never led and scored only twice when it had the serve.
Last weekend in the Vernon (Texas) Tournament, Fort Scott went 3-1 losing only to Casper, Wyo., in the final. Casper is ranked No. 16 in Division I despite having a losing record (4-5).
Schwartz, named to the All-Tournament Team, had an average of 9.9 assists per set in the tournament, including 37 each in wins over Richland, Texas, and Eastland, Texas.
The Greyhounds play at Redlands, Okla., Friday and against the St. Gregory junior varsity Saturday.
|2. Grand Rapids, Mich.||8-0||9|
|3. Des Moines Area, Iowa||4-0||10|
|4. Moraine Valley, Ill.||9-0||NR|
|5. Owens, Ohio||10-3||15|
|6. Glendale, Ariz.||3-0||NR|
|7. Johnson County||9-1||8|
|8. Kirkwood, Iowa||7-3||NR|
|9. Columbus State, Ohio||8-4||NR|
|10. Oakland College, Mich.||6-4||2|
|11. Illinois Central||8-4||NR|
|12. Central Nebraska||6-4||11|
|13. Parkland, Ill.||6-5||7|
|14. Kansas City Kansas||4-1||NR|
|15. Lincoln Land, Ill.||6-2||NR|
|16. Fort Scott||9-1||NR|
|17. Monroe, N.Y.||9-3||14|
|18. North Platte, Neb.||7-3||NR|
|19. Bismarck State, N.D.||7-1||NR|
|20. Iowa Central||4-5||6|
Others receiving votes: North Dakota Science, 3-1 (17); Kankakee, Ill., 6-5 (16); Surry, N.C., 3-0 (NR); Phoenix, Ariz., 2-5 (5); Scottsdale, Ariz, 1-2 (NR); Highland, 4-2 (NR).
Dropped out: Kishwaukee, Ill. (3); Iowa Lakes (4); Pasco-Hernando, Fla. (12); Longview, Mo. (13); Pitt, N.C. (18); Hagerstown, Md. (19); Genesee, N.Y. (20).