By Matt Browning
The Derby Panthers went 34-10 last season and earned a trip to the 6A Tournament, where they fell in pool play. The Panthers have a tall task in trying to replace second team all-state setter Sydney Nilles and second team all-league libero Heather Mills. Derby does return first team all league hitter Sophie Connor, who led the team with 311 kills last season. Middle hitter Tiggy Colon also returns.
Wichita East took third in the City League last season and the Aces return one of the top players in the league in Melody Ukoefreso.
Bishop Carroll qualified for yet another 5A Tournament last season and the Eagles return two all-state players this year in setter Ella Larkin,
who led the team with 341 kills and 299 digs and outside hitter Riley Daugherty, who was second on the team with 236 kills.
Newton returns a pair of first team all-league players in outside hitter Asha Regier and setter Marah Zenner. Regier led the Railers in kills with 422, while Zenner led the team in digs with 415. Andover and Maize South each return an all-league performer from last year’s state tournament teams in MayaMay Brown and Laurel Jones, respectively.
Kapaun Mount Carmel took second in the City League last season, but lost three key players from that team. The Crusaders do return setter Haley Cahil.
Buhler went 24-13 last season and returns first team all-league outside hitter Haley Waldren and second team all-league outside hitters, Leah Bentley and Maddie Holland. The trio combined for 614 kills last season.
Andale lost to Topeka Hayden in the 4A finals last year and the Indians lost three players that made an all-state team. They do return outside hitter Katelyn Fairchild, who was first team all-state and led the team in kills with 344.
Circle also made the state tournament a year ago, but the Thunderbirds lost three all-state players to graduation.
Cheney finished last season 33-11 and took fourth at the 3A Tournament. The Cardinals return setter Brooklyn Wewe and opposite hitter Kylee Scheer.
Trinity Academy went 32-7 last season and return first team all-league hitter Austin Broadie, second team all-league setter Ashley Sawyer and honorable mention all-league opposite hitter Lauren Mathews.
Hesston went 33-7 last season, but the Swathers must replace their top three hitters, as well as their top defender.
Garden Plain graduated two of its top players, but still return outside Ally Puetz from last year’s team that took third at the 3A Tournament.
Belle Plaine returns a pair of players from last season’s team that went to the state tournament.
Middle Hitter Alyssa Hunter was first team allleague, while setter Tori Lujan was second team.
Morgan Meyers is back for Cunningham, where she was an honorable mention all-state Libero last season. The Wildcats took third at the 1A