St. James hands Lansing second loss of season
No. 1 Thunder too much for No. 4 Lions in tough road match
Lenexa It wasn't the state tournament - no, just a regular nonleague matchup - but Lansing High volleyball coach Julie Slater had St. James Academy added to her team's schedule for one reason: State preparation.
The Lions certainly got a sneak peek at what state championship-caliber competition looks like on Thursday night when they took on the Thunder, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 4A. In fact, the Lions got all they could handle and then some in a 25-18, 25-17 loss.
It was just the second setback of the season for Lansing, ranked No. 4 in Class 5A and now 31-2 this season. Meanwhile, St. James moved to 35-0 with the victory.
"I felt like they're the best team we've played," Slater said of St. James. "It's not even close; they're the best."
Earlier in the evening LHS defeated Maranatha Academy, 25-6, 25-13.
Lansing motored through Maranatha with no trouble. Brittney Lang and Lisa Angello each had five kills in the match and Julia Bates added four. Kristen Jensen and Erin Griffen each had four aces, and Angello and Lang had three apiece.
Then came the showdown with St. James, and Lansing ran into the most adversity it's faced all season. That, Slater said, was the problem.
"Two great teams go head to head, and what it comes down to is who makes the least amount of mistakes," Slater said. "And we (made more mistakes). Communication broke down at times and we just made some goofy mistakes, and you can't have that.
"But this is a great tune-up for us," Slater added. "This is exactly what they're going to see if they make it to state."
Lang and Rachel Milnark led LHS with six kills apiece against St. James.
Lansing next plays at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Anderson County-Garnett Tournament. The Lions are three-time defending champions of the tournament.