Archive for Thursday, September 29, 2005

Volleyball survives gauntlet stretch, will savor week-long break

Lions return to action Tuesday against Mill Valley, Tonganoxie

September 29, 2005

— As the Lansing High volleyball team boarded the bus Tuesday night to head back home after beating Bishop Ward and Piper at Piper High School, LHS coach Julie Slater gave a sigh of relief.

Her Lions had just survived a scare from Ward, prevailing 25-16, 20-25, 25-21, and then spoiled the Pirates' Senior Night by earning a 25-22, 25-21 victory.

The pair of down-to-the-wire victories capped an exhausting eight-day stretch that began last Tuesday at home against Santa Fe Trail and Immaculata. In the middle of that stretch were a three-match tilt Thursday at Bonner Springs and a six-match effort Saturday at the Louisburg Tournament.

By Tuesday night, the Lions were dragging.

"Thirteen matches in a week, and we've come through with a 12-1 record," Slater said. "That's awesome. We just had to get through it. They were dead tired. You could tell."

After losing to Santa Fe Trail, Lansing (19-3) rattled off 12 straight victories to close out the week. The six at Louisburg earned the Lions a tournament title, but the two on Tuesday were the toughest.

Multiple players were dealing with nagging injuries. Plus, competing non-stop was wearing on everyone. The Lions didn't pass the ball well most of the night and they weren't as sharp defensively.

"You've got to remember, it's been just a brutal week," Slater said. "I could tell it wore on them, but they got through it. That's all I care about right now."

Junior Kate Courtney (12 kills, three blocks) and senior Lauren Griffen (five kills, six blocks) kept LHS afloat, but it was senior Casey Welch (29 kills, two aces) whom the Lions turned to for big production when the matches were on the line. The Lions rarely set the ball to their top threat early in both matches, but when they got her involved they came storming back.

After surviving the brutal stretch, the Lions have a week off before returning to action at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when they play host to Tonganoxie and Mill Valley on Senior Night. Both opponents traditionally have been very tough, and Slater said she expects that to be the case again this year. She said she hopes the Lions can send seniors Welch, Griffen, Dana Sanders, Keele McLaurin, Dayna Norwood and Whitney Lozenski out with a pair of wins.

"That's what the goal is," she said. "We want to win those two."

After Tuesday, the Lions will be off for another week and then play Basehor-Linwood and Perry-Lecompton on Oct. 11 at Basehor.

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