Derby volleyball played its first home matches of the season on Oct. 9 at the Derby Invitational. The Panthers went 3-3 on the day, losing in the third-place match against Maize.
“It was not a terrible finish considering the level of competition that came to our tournament,” head coach Shelby Kraus said.
The tournament featured Washburn Rural (27-0) and Wichita Northwest (35-1), two of the top 6A programs in the area that Derby is chasing in the West standings.
The Panthers dominated the early morning slot with wins over Wichita South and Wichita East. Derby defeated the Titans in two sets (25-9, 25-11) to take the early morning sweep.
Wichita East hung around in the second match of the day, but Derby took the match win in two sets defeating the Blue Aces 25-14, 25-16.
Derby defeated Ark City in two sets, but Bulldogs put up a fight in the first set in a 25-22 defeat. The Panthers took the match with a 25-15 win.
The afternoon was a bit of a struggle for the Panthers that started in the final match in pool play against Wichita Northwest, a program that was undefeated until its matchup with Washburn Rural later in the day. Derby lost in two sets 25-15, 25-10, which set up a match with Washburn Rural.
The Junior Blues boast the best record in Kansas 6A volleyball this season and showed why they were one of the best in the state.
Derby scored a combined 10 points against the number one ranked team in the state according to the Kansas Volleyball Association poll in 25-7 and 25-3 defeats.
A matchup with a familiar foe in Maize awaited Derby in the third-place game. The Eagles handed the Panthers its final loss of the day in two sets, 25-18, 25-12.
Maize has dominated the season series over Derby with a 3-0 record and one more matchup remaining.
“We didn’t play our best volleyball by any means,” Kraus said. “I know we could have competed better in the afternoon.”
Senior Tatum Boettjer was selected to the all-tournament team for the second straight tournament.
The Panthers will round out the season with two triangulars at home before beginning postseason play. Derby hosted Campus and Maize on Oct. 12 and will take on Andover Central and Arkansas City on Oct. 19.