The anticipation of the first meeting between the Rock Bridge and Hickman volleyball teams has been building for weeks and will intensify a little more tonight when the two teams play in the same gym.
Both teams face Bishop Miege of Shawnee Mission, Kan., at Hickman, but will not play each other.
Bishop Miege is 4-0 and has won 15 state championships in the past 27 years. Neither Hickman nor Rock Bridge has ever faced the Stags.
The scheduling oddity is the newest chapter of a Kewpies-Bruins rivalry that promises to be more intense than in past years.
The rivalry heated up when Beth Newton, a former assistant of Hickman coach Greg Gunn, signed on as Rock Bridge coach earlier this year. It grew larger when no judges were available for their match Sept. 16 and it had to be postponed to Oct. 2.
“The anticipation of the Hickman game grows all the time,” Newton said. “The girls just get more and more excited about it everyday.”
Newton said traveling to Hickman before her team competes against the Kewpies will help the Bruins when they play Hickman.
“I think it will benefit us playing in the gym once before we play Hickman because it will allow us to get rid of some of those jitters,” Newton said.
Newton said she is not sure what to expect from Bishop Miege but knows they will be competitive.
“They’re out of the Kansas City area and almost every school from that area is highly talented,” she said.
Newton said the team tries not to be preoccupied with the strengths and weaknesses of an opponent.
“We try to look at every team as the toughest team we will play all year,” she said.
Hickman (6-4) plays the Stags immediately after the Rock Bridge game.
Gunn said his team will benefit from watching Rock Bridge and Bishop Miege play.
“We’ll watch and see what kind of offense Bishop runs,” he said. “Maybe try to pick up on some weaknesses. But the thing we try to do the most is just play our own game.”