Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

Freshman volleyball ends strong

Lions close on hot streak, win 20 of last 23 matches

October 20, 2005

Rhonda Lang looked a bit choked up Thursday night when the Lansing High freshman volleyball team presented her with flowers after its final match of the season.

Lang, the squad's coach, was moved by the gesture, which came at the end of a season that was full of progress.

"What's nice is how much they've improved," Lang said. "Just watching their improvement from where we started to where we finished was probably the most exciting thing."

Lansing had plenty of room to improve after its first few matches. LHS started out the season losing three of its first six matches, including a three-game match to Patton Junior High. Then it faced a bunch of tough matches at the Kaw Valley League freshman tournament. Mill Valley and Perry-Lecompton both gave Lansing trouble.

In fact, Perry and Mill Valley handed Lansing six of its nine losses this year.

Finally, everything came together.

"After that league tournament, it seemed like everything just clicked and they all came together," Lang said. "They finally started believing in what I was trying to teach them, and from there it seemed like it all clicked."

The Lions didn't just click. They caught fire. They won 20 of their final 23 matches of the season and finished with a 27-9 record. Included in that winning streak were titles at the Atchison Tournament and the Eudora Tournament.

"The Atchison Tournament usually isn't a strong tournament, so we usually do well there," Lang said. "But winning the Eudora Tournament was very exciting. We beat Baldwin and Wellsville and Eudora. We had good competition and we won, so it was more gratifying winning that one."

Lang said she enjoyed the season for another reason: Her daughter, Brittney Lang, is a Lansing freshman this year. Brittney played on the junior varsity, but the girls on the freshman team are her friends.

Lang said having a daughter in the freshman class made this season more personal.

"They're my daughter's age, so I've grown up with most of them," Lang said. "Most of them have been around here forever, so I've known them since they were (little)."

Freshmen team members were Keasla Hundley, Dee Dee Clifford, Courtney Peters, Megan Grimm, Sam Pendleton, Natalie Loreti, Heather Kermashek, Kenzi Smith, Andrea Shanks, Brooke Didde and Katie Cristiano.

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