OSHKOSH —The new-look Hillsboro volleyball team opened the 2014 season last week at the two-day, 32-team Khaos at the Kolf Tournament on the campus of UW–Oshkosh.
Hillsboro went 1–2 in pool play on Tuesday, but finished second in its pool on point differential and advanced to play in the 16-team Gold bracket on Wednesday.
The Tigers went 1–3 in the gold bracket and finished 14th overall out of 32 teams.
“I’m proud of our team,” said Hillsboro head coach Mark Sullivan. “ We had a couple tough losses but a couple quality wins over bigger schools. We have some real bright spots at times, but need to work on our consistency and closing out matches. It was good preparation for our conference season.”
Hillsboro opened the tournament with a tough three-set loss to Division 2 Port Washington, 22–25, 25–17, 10–15.
Hillsboro’s lead in game three and appeared on its way to victory, before Port Washington rallied.
Sullivan’s Tigers shook of the first loss by sweeping Division 1 Wausau East 25–13, 27–25, before falling to pool winner West De Pere, 25–16, 25–21.
As the 16th seed in the gold bracket, Hillsboro drew number one seed and eventual champion Oshkosh West in the opening match of bracket play.
The Tigers fought valiantly, but lost in three sets, 25–21, 8–25, 10–15 after taking the opening game.
In the consolation side of the gold bracket, Hillsboro then lost to Division 1 Green Bay Southwest, 23–24, 14–25, before beating Adams–Friendship, 25–22, 24–26, 15–10.
In the 13th place match, Hillsboro suffered another tough loss to Houghton (Mich.), 25–17, 21–25, 15–17. The Tigers led 14–7 in the third set, before Houghton scored eight straight to take the lead and eventually won 17–15.
Junior do-everything setter/outsider hitter Mackenzie Sullivan was named to the All-Tournament team after posting a team-high 57 kills, 51 assists, 39 digs, 14 aces and three blocks.
“To be one of thirty players to receive the all-tournament awards when there were over 400 kids playing in tournament was quite an honor,” said coach Sullivan, Mackenzie’s father. “She was recognized for her overall game and ability to make a difference in a match in multiple different ways.”
Junior Tasha Mitchell finished the two-day tournament with 45 kills, 32 digs and five blocks. Junior April Thornsen added 21 kills and five blocks. Junior libero Brittany Borchardt led the team with 48 digs and 89 service receptions.
Freshman setter Courtney Fanta had 50 assists and eight aces in her first varsity event.
Hillsboro will open Scenic Bluffs Conference play tonight at New Lisbon. The Tigers will travel to Necedah Tuesday before traveling to Cashton for an SBC quadrangular next Thursday.