Independence wins 4A-I sub-state title, picks up No. 2 seed at State Tournament

FORT SCOTT — For a second straight year, Independence has advanced to the Class 4A-Division I State Volleyball Tournament. The Lady Bulldogs captured the championship of the Fort Scott Sub-State Tournament on Saturday by beating the host Tigers in the final.

IHS will take a 35-4 overall record into next weekend’s state tournament. The Lady Bulldogs have been selected as the No. 2 seed and placed in Pool II (bottom bracket) for state competition. Other teams in that pool include No. 3 Ulysses (29-8), No. 6 Wellington (19-16) and No. 7 El Dorado (20-19).

Pool I (top bracket) will include No. 1 Rose Hill (36-3), No. 4 Louisburg (30-9), No. 5 Basehor-Linwood (24-14) and No. 8 Bishop Miege (10-26).

Action will get underway on Oct. 27 with pool play and wraps up on Oct. 28 with bracket play to determine the Class 4A-Division I champion. All matches will be played at the Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina.

Here are the official pairings as announced Sunday morning by the Kansas State High School Activities Association:

4A-Division I State Pairings

Independence’s 35 victories already ties the school record for wins in a season, matching that of the 1992 squad that went 35-3 en route to a runner-up finish at the Class 5A State Tournament. Recently, the Lady Bulldogs had clinched their first Southeast Kansas League championship since 2001 and fifth title in program history.

On Saturday, Independence — the No. 1 overall seed in the bracket — won both of its matches in straight sets. The Lady Bulldogs opened tournament action with a 25-12, 25-20 victory over Montgomery County rival Field Kindley (8-24) and followed that up by beating No. 3 seed Fort Scott (15-22) in the championship match, 25-13, 25-17. Fort Scott had reached the final by way of a three-set win over No. 2 seed Labette County (23-15) in the semifinal round, 14-25, 25-17, 25-20.

Prior to last season, the Lady Bulldogs had not been to a state tournament in 24 years. Coach Kristi Speicher, who has been on the IHS sideline for 33 years, has directed her squad to seven state tournament appearances during her tenure.