By Wendy Stevelinck
After coming off a confidence-building win at the Alexander Dawson School Tournament, the Lady Lions were ready for a battle against the Brush Beetdiggers. Last year, their match went to five sets, with the Beetdiggers winning the fifth set 15-13. That was not the case this year.
The first set was close with the Lions winning 25-18. However, that would the biggest margin of victory of the night for either team. The Lady Lions displayed great hustle and intensity in every set, and it became apparent early on that the girls needed to adjust around the Beetdiggers’ middle blocker, Ellie Monarch. One key play in particular that set the tone was Sydney Stevelinck’s solo block against Brush’s toughest hitter to fire up the team and the crowd. Lyons eventually found the weak spot and holes in the Beetdiggers’ defense and used it to their advantage.
In the second set, the Lions held a 20-15 lead, but could not capitalize. Ellie Monarch then went on a serving tear to tie the score, and the Beetdiggers went on to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat in the second set 25-23, and they captured the third set 25-22. Great plays were consistent throughout the match. Down two sets to one, the girls really needed to focus and dig deep in the fourth set. Coach Klipstein made some adjustments in the line up, switching outside hitter Meagan Keen to middle and Erika Ivkov to outside. It worked; with Lyons taking the fourth set 25-22.
In the fifth and deciding set, the Lady Lions took a 5-1 lead, but the Beetdiggers continued to fight. The Brush coach made a strategic adjustment to their line up as well. They moved their ace Ellie Monarch to attack from outside. Lyons recognized the switch, and adjusted fabulously. The Lions were able to capitalize on some great outside and middle attacks from Erika Ivkov and Ashlynn Christiansen. Sydney Stevelinck and Meagan Keen came up big with a block against Monarch. The crowd was on its feet from then on.
The teams battled back and fourth for each point, knotting the score at15 all. Finally, the Lady Lions won the side out, and got a kill from Madeline Keen from a right side attack.
An impressive performance from all was the key to this victory. All six players never gave in. Meagan Keen led the team with fourteen kills and five blocks. Sydney Stevelinck totaled twenty-four digs and Meagan Keen was right behind with twenty-three. The team served an amazing ninety-seven percent, and totaled one hundred digs! The hometown fans’ support in the stands was outstanding. Several players mentioned that the crowd was a huge contributing factor to the win. The girls want to thank the fans for their support and hope they continue to come out to cheer them on.
The C and JV teams were not as successful as the varsity. It was the first match for the C team, as well for most of the players. Set scores were 4-25 and 7-25. The JV team played a tough first set coming up just short of the win, 21-25. The second set came down to serve/receive, and too many unforced errors on the Lyons side, leading to a 14-25 loss.