While Derby played its last in-season, home-court matches on Saturday, Oct. 10, it certainly hopes it won’t be its last.
Two more triangulars stand between the Panthers and the postseason. The possibility of hosting a set of postseason matches exists, but for now, coach Shelby Kraus and crew are focused on wrapping up its 2020 regular-season slate.
Derby finished 3-2 in its six-team tournament, knocking off Ark City (25-7, 25-17), Liberal (28-26, 25-18) and Newton (20-25, 25-23, 25-15).
“We’re going to buckle down this week and be more disciplined,” Kraus said looking back on Saturday. “We need to hold ourselves accountable and we don’t do it all the time… we started to do that and I didn’t see it as consistently [in the tournament.].”
While the Panthers have been hovering just inside the top 10 of the Kansas Volleyball Association (KVA) Rankings, they’re just a few wins away from being even higher.
One of its two losses on Saturday came to Maize South (22-25, 23-25). It was the third and fourth time that Derby played its league foe within four points this fall. The Mavericks (21-5, 8-1 in league) are also poised to win a league championship in their first season in AVCTL-I.
“We either go to three sets or it’s within a few points,” Kraus said of its struggles against Maize South this fall and seasons past. “We just can’t quite get those two points and I’m not sure what the struggle is.”
The same struggles that have persisted against Maize South are opposite against league perennial power, Newton. Derby beat its league rival (20-25, 25-23, 25-15) for the third-straight time on Saturday.
“They had beat us twice [earlier] and we had beat them twice,” Kraus said of Newton. “I told the girls, ‘we’re 2-2 in this war and it’s the last time we’re going to play them. Who is going to win it?’ The girls said we’re going to win it and I’m glad we did.”
DERBY INVITATIONAL (OCT. 10)
Derby def. Ark City (25-7, 25-17)
Washburn Rural def. Newton (25-20, 25-16)
Maize South def. Liberal (25-15, 25-22)
Washburn Rural def. Derby (25-17, 25-15)
Maize South def. Ark City (25-7, 25-11)
Newton def. Liberal (25-18, 25-15)
Maize South def. Derby (25-22, 25-23)
Newton def. Ark City (25-14, 25-14)
Washburn Rural def. Liberal (25-13, 25-20)
Derby def. Liberal (28-26, 25-18)
Newton def. Maize South (22-25, 25-9, 25-13)
Washburn Rural def. Ark City (25-7, 25-11)
Derby def. Newton (20-25, 25-23, 25-15)
Washburn Rural def. Maize South (25-13, 25-12)
Liberal def. Ark City (22-25, 25-18, 25-15)
1. Washburn Rural, 5-0
2. Maize South, 3-2 (7-4, .6363)
3. Newton, 3-2 (7-5, .5833)
4. Derby, 3-2 (6-5, .5454)
5. Liberal, 1-4
6. Ark City, 0-5