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Bluebirds 2nd at home tournament.

Eyes Up ! -Bluebirds 2nd at Goessel Invitational

Goessel Volleyball – Goessel – September 9, 2023


This year’s Goessel Invitational featured 7 area teams and 1 team from eastern Kansas.  Joining the Bluebirds this year were the Sedgwick Cardinals, Central Christian Cougars, Canton-Galva Eagles, Moundridge Wildcats, Fairfield Falcons, Burrton Chargers and the St. Paul Indians.


Goessel’s Bluebirds started the morning tentatively, with both teams trading errors to 6-6.   Junior Brooklyn Wuest then set the mood for the day with a left side kill so potent three breakfast burritos in the concession area blew up.   Goessel’s attack is very balanced in 2023, with threats coming from multiple roster positions.  On left side swats from Senior Alece Lehrman and a nice middle push from Freshman middle Isabelle Alderfer, Goessel went up 12-7 and never looked back.   Frescos from Wuest and Junior Logan Bryant left this one at 20-11 before you could say “Fan In a Beanie.”   There were three ties; Goessel earned 14 and Central Christian earned only 4 as the first set of the day closed 25-12.


The Cougars came back ready to play and held the Bluebirds to 8-8 (6 ties), with both teams playing well and minimal errors.  Goessel then went on a 6-1 run on terrific play from Bryant (three kills) and a back row wallop from Wuest.   A sumptuous defensive dig fell in untouched to take it to 12-8, then Lehrman pushed on the left to leave it at 13-8.  Timeout CC.     Goessel’s setting, passing and defensive unit looks superb this year, highlighted by Juniors Aimee Funk and Abbigail Funk.   The Bluebirds appear ready to show block this year as well.   Serving from across the roster will also be a continuing strength for the Bluebirds.    Raucous smashes from Wuest, Lehrman and Bryant gave the Bluebirds 21 earned points in this set; not too many teams will compete with that level of execution.   The Cougars earned 9 points, six of which were in the early going, and Goessel only made 6 errors.  This one finished at 25-15.


Goessel’s team theme this year is “Eyes Up,” with reference to continuing to stay positive no matter what, to stay focused on the next play and not to get waylaid by what has already happened, and to remain upbeat as a team member.    


Next up for Goessel was Fairfield at 10:24 am.  The Blue Crew cheer section was now in place and ready for action.      Out of the chute in both sets v. the Falcons, the Blue again started slow but gained traction as the sets progressed.      In set 1, there were four ties before Goessel began rolling, serving up 8 aces (Bryant, Senior Jaicee Griffin, Funk, and Wuest) and earning 14 on numerous huge finishes.     Wuest had a gorgeous back row swat, Alderfer found paydirt on a tip in the middle, and Bryant hit one right side that ripped the (what was that?) three wood out of the Wildcat spectator’s hands and was last seen heading toward Langdon.    Wuest powered one with so much velocity, the male cheer team’s shirts seemed to glow for a moment and fans were pretty sure number 12 was hit and turned to 13.    25-10 in the first set.    Fairfield led 1-4 to start the 2nd, but the Bluebirds found traction and brought it back to 6-6 before putting on a scintillating serving and finish show to leave it at 25-10 in the 2nd also.    With Griffin at the line, it went from 12-8 to 21-8, a huge run including 5 unplayable serves/aces.  Goessel earned 18 in this one, with good floor sense from all.     Not only have the Bluebirds’ skills progressed this summer, but the court thinking / sense aspects have made remarkable strides for each team member.



One of the most entertaining sets all day was #1 v. Moundridge, starting at 12:15.  On 9-9-23, Number 9 found the range just inside the baseline to knot at 2-2.     It was 4-4 and then 5-5 until the Wildcats rolled on a 2-5 run, going error free to that point at 6-12.    Just as the play by play announcer put that out there, the Wildcats punched it into the net, then Griffin puffed one down in the middle, Bryant got an ace, and Lehrman bounced one down so hard in the middle it temporarily caused play to be suspended in the JH gym as the game administrator noted seismic activity in the area.  Goessel was able to keep it tight with several nice Wuest finishes and it was knotted again at 18-18.   Wuest got a knuckleball to fall, the teams traded errors and the score remained even at 22-22 after Griffin got a nice floater to fall in.

Down 22-23, Lehrman came up big on the left side, getting it down with a huge kill and the mid-court celebration was over the top!       With Aimee Funk serving, the response from the Wildcat hitter was wide and Goessel was up 24-23!    This time, Funk’s set went to Lehrman on the right and the shot was heard round the world, straight down the middle for the 25-23 win.  This one had 8 ties;  Goessel earned 17 points and Moundridge 10;  the Bluebirds would need to drastically reduce their 13 errors to come out on top of this match. 


In the 2nd set, it appeared the close first one deflated the Wildcat spirit.   Goessel went on a 9-1 run to put this one away.   Freshman Jenna Flaming came in to serve and Wuest put the hammer down.  Aimee Funk got a nice put-away on a 2nd hit.   Great defensive efforts came today from all the Bluebirds.   Fans inquiring about the Funk twins’ hairdos believe that their “messy bun” or “bun mullet” styling helps them be all they can be; commentators and most fans interviewed love the idea that has been thrown out there that AD Lightner will add that hairstyle if this team shows success late in the season.  Griffin notched a solo block to lead 15-5.   Then it was Lehrman’s turn to hit three nearly consecutive kills, putting the Blue up 21-7.    This was smart play at high noon.   Goessel earned 16 and had only 6 errors in this one as Moundridge earned only 3 points, keeping the Wildcats under 10 and winning 25-9.  


In Pool A it was Goessel first and Moundridge 2nd.    In Pool B Sedgwick emerged first and Canton-Galva 2nd.      Goessel would play Canton-Galva and Sedgwick would play Moundridge for the right to play in the championship.


In the tourney semi-finals, Goessel would face Canton-Galva, the first time the Bluebirds have been across the net from the Eagles this season.     Goessel jumped out to a 3-0 lead and never was behind in the first set, beginning with a Lehrman/Alderfer block, getting a right side finish from Aimee Funk and a very fine push from #13.    At 10-4, the Funk twins gave high fives in the middle and there was a POP sound that made Abbigail’s eyes light up.  Moments later, Sophomore Hailey Rosfeld had the dig of the day, responding to an Espinoza bullet, and kept it alive to go up 12-4. Wuest looked poised with a nice left hand turn push while flying horizontally across the front line.   Various errors on both sides took it to 17-8 before Lehrman and Griffin notched a great down block.    #11 and #13 showed continuing strength off great sets from Funk to lead 23-11, then Rosfeld finished with an impeccable ace 25-13.    The Bluebirds earned 14 of their points and made only 5 errors in a well played set.


In a set of streaks, Goessel went up 8-3 to start the 2nd.  Lehrman swatted one so hard it made the propeller on the beanie go around for the next five minutes.   The Blue got a solid block on #1, Griffin did what looked like the famous Page Hiebert leap (for fans who don’t remember the Page Hiebert leap, consult someone who has) after getting a back to back block and tip to lead 5-3.  Bryant pounded a left side cross court, causing the new Sasquatch somewhere east of Goessel to act like a Korean gong, then found pay dirt with another more finessed swat to lead 7-3.  Wuest dropped in an ace but the Eagles flew back in it 11-11 with a 5-2 run before Griffin again inspired her teammates to bring their eyes back up with yet another fine down block.  Griffin on fire at the line drove two screaming aces between Eagle defenders and the Eagles called time down 14-11.   It wasn’t over yet as Canton knotted again at 16-16, but the up referee called #1 for a sweeping re-direct on the left side and Goessel was up 17-16.    Wuest took control of the match and put down three nice hits left side, one a nifty touch, one a carom so firm the Bluebird’s eye may never be the same, and yet another left side shot, accompanied by a Abbigail Funk ace.  Timeout Eagles.     Canton attempted to fly back into it down 24-19, but the last Eagle attempt flew into the sunset and this one closed 25-19.


It was all Sedgwick in the early going in set one of the final, with the Cardinals capitalizing on 10 Goessel hitting errors to lead 8-19.     The Bluebirds jumped out to a 4-1 lead on a great finish from #13 that landed on the absolute most extreme part of the corner of the court, then a beautifully timed push over the block. The Sampsons from Sedgwick proved their mettle with expert execution all over the court.   At 10-23, Goessel put on an extraordinary run with 9 earned points on kills from Lehrman crosscourt, three sumptuous aces from Abbigail Funk, a Bryant tip, a Wuest wallop, and yet another dive bomb ace from Funk.    Wuest found an absolutely sensational set from Funk and smashed it all the way to US 56; the Canton water works director indicates that they may need to repaint the Hot sign on their water tower.  At 19-24, fans thought that an incredible come back was in the offing, only to see it go to 21-24 but Sampson pummeled one to close 21-25.


The 2nd set of the championship saw the teams battle in a well played back and forth contest.  Goessel only had 6 errors in this one and kept things knotted through four ties to 6-6, getting a block on Senior 6’0” hitter Ta’ya Sampson and three finishes from Wuest.  The Cardinals were gradually able to slip away, however, on steady defensive play as Goessel could not get away from their consistent and savvy blocking.  At 11-17 Coach Guhr called time and there was some mysterious wind that crept into the room.    After the timeout, the Cardinals committed 6 straight errors and the Bluebirds had knotted it at 18-18.    Goessel earned one more point to go to 19-21, leaving three Cardinals strewn on the floor, but that was all she wrote.   A Sedgwick serving error left it at 20-23, but the Sampsons left down their hair and it was all over, 20-25.


Sedgwick is the 2023 Goessel Invitational winner, with Goessel the runner-up.   Congratulations Bluebirds on sticking through a long hard day!   Alyson Roberts was not available today.    Coaches for Goessel are Crysta Guhr and Olivia Duerksen.  A big shoutout to the table crew of Amy Flaming, Janna Duerksen and Marcia Brubaker as well as to the line judges for all their work all day.  Thanks to all the fans for supporting this year’s tournament and to AD Lightner for running an excellent event.


Eyes Up!

Best wishes Bluebirds!

-Karl Brubaker