Despite loss to No. 3 Highland, KCKCC playoff hopes still alive

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Despite being overtaken by No. 3 ranked Highland Wednesday night, Kansas City Kansas Community College still holds its Region VI playoff hopes in its own hands.

“If we win at Hesston next Wednesday, we’re in the playoffs,” KCKCC coach Mary Bruno-Ballou said. “We control our own destiny but Hesston at their place will be tough.”

The Lady Blue Devils gave No. 3 Highland an early scare in KCKCC’s home finale Wednesday, taking the first set 25-23 before the Scotties rallied for 25-15, 25-17 and 25-15 wins.

“Highland is a quality team and a quality program but we’ve always started well against quality teams – and most teams for that part,” Bruno-Ballou said. “But for some reason we are not able to maintain the same intensity and level of play that we’ve started with. That and cutting down on unforced errors are going to be crucial this last week of the season.”

The game was the final home contest for five Blue Devil sophomores – setters Kelsey Rankin of Omaha and Paige Dresslaer of Diamond, Missouri; libero Kellie Sleefe of Wichita Andover Central, middle blocker Randi Johnson of Lee’s Summit and right side hitter Yvette Tamez of Donna, Texas.

At 2-7 in the Jayhawk Conference and 15-13 overall, the Blue Devils are locked in a four-team battle with Hesston (3-5), Cloud County (3-7) and Labette (2-7) for the last two playoff berths. KCKCC has a head-to-head win over Cloud County, which has already closed out league play, while Labette still must play Coffeyville and Hesston has a date Friday with Highland before facing KCKCC.

No. 1 ranked Coffeyville (7-0, 30-2) leads the Jayhawk followed by No. 4 Johnson County (7-1, 24-6), No. 3 Highland (6-1, 30-2) and No. 5 Cowley College (6-1, 29-5).

The Blue Devils will take on three more ranked teams in this week’s Lincoln Land Tournament in Springfield, Illinois.

KCKCC will open play Friday when the Blue Devils take on Waubonsee for the third time this season at 5 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. clash with No. 2 ranked Parkland. On Saturday, the Blue Devils will play No. 15 Lincoln Land at 9:30 a.m. and No. 7 Grand Rapids at 11:30 a.m.

NASCAR driver visits KCKCC auto students

NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier, left, visited with Charlie Seitz today at Kansas City Kansas Community College’s auto technology program at 67th and State Avenue. Allgaier will compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Kansas Speedway, at I-70 and I-435 in Kansas City, Kansas. For more race information, visit www.kansasspeedway.com/. (Staff photo)
Justin Allgaier, right front (in the red shirt), visited with auto technology students today at Kansas City Kansas Community College. (Staff photo)

Blue Devils blank Allen 3-0; home soccer finale Sunday

by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC

Kansas City Kansas Community College dominated from start to finish in a 3-0 home soccer blanking of Allen County Tuesday.

The win moved the Blue Devils (4-4-1) to within a half-game of Johnson County (4-3-1) in the race for third place in the Jayhawk East Conference. KCKCC closes out regular season play at home Sunday, as host of Coffeyville (1-7) at 7:30 p.m. while JCCC plays at Coffeyville Thursday and is host to second place Neosho County (6-3) Saturday. Should KCKCC and JCCC tie, the Blue Devils have the edge because of a 3-1 win over JCCC early in the season. The two teams tied in their second meeting.

Sophomore midfielder Reed Axthelm gave KCKCC a 1-0 lead just 22 minutes into the clash with Allen County. The goal came on an assist from freshman Alejandro Maillet. Eight minutes later, sophomore Ethan Pfeifer made it 2-0 on an unassisted goal. Maillert then closed out the scoring with an assist from Alvaro Garrigos with 10 minutes remaining.

KCKCC peppered the Red Devils’ goal with 24 shots including 12 on goal. Allen County, meanwhile, managed just five shots – none in the first half – as freshman goalkeeper Fabian Keiblinger turned away the only two shots on goal for his third shutout of the season.