Celebrating Senior Night and Pink Out for breast cancer awareness, the Southeast Lancers dropped both games of their home volleyball triangular Tuesday night. The Lancers pushed Baxter Springs to three sets before falling to the Lions, and then dropped the match to the Riverton Rams in straight sets.
There was a lot of emotions among both teams early in the first set between Southeast and Baxter Springs. The Lancers were effectively rotating players in and out of the game on almost every point. A block kill by junior Bailee Ulery pushed the early momentum to Southeast’s side of the net. A combined block kill by seniors Kalyn Bitner and Sami Sullivan staked the Lancers to a 9-8 lead.
Southeast was finding it difficult to handle the kill shots of the Lions in the early part of the match, but some adjustments at the net changed that. The Lancers’ strength at the net allowed them to extend their lead to 17-11, forcing Baxter Springs to call a timeout. This timeout seemed to calm the Lions down, as they roared back into the game, eventually tying the match at 23-all.
The Lancers won the side out to take a 24-23 lead and closed the first set out on the next serve.
The second set saw the Lancers run out to a quick 4-1 lead, but that would be about the only highlight for Southeast in this game. Multiple miscues by the Lancer ladies made it difficult for them to string together points or mount a comeback against Baxter Springs. With the score at 7-6, the Lions won the side out and then proceeded to reel off ten consecutive service points to push their advantage to 18-6. Southeast tried to climb back into the game, but the lead proved too large as Baxter Springs won the second set 25-15.
A big block kill by Bitner got Southeast off on the right foot in the tiebreak set. In fact, Bitner had three block kills in the early part of the game, helping the Lancers build a 6-2 advantage. Unable to hit through the blocks of Southeast, Baxter Springs started hitting over them in the third set, with well-placed tips into open areas of the court.
There was a rally of considerable length with the score at 13-12 Southeast. During this point, both sides pulled off some brilliant plays to extend the play before Baxter Springs put it away to bring the score even. This singular point seemed to fire up the Lions while it seemed to take something out of the Lancers. From here, Baxter Springs slowly pulled away, with some more miscues by Southeast aiding their cause, before ultimately taking the set and the match by the score of 25-18.
Before the match with Riverton, the Southeast Lancers celebrated their five graduating senior volleyball players: Sami Sullivan, Kendall Hamblin, Jordann Lunsford, Kalyn Bitner, and Erin Horgan.
In the match between the Rams and Lancers, the feeling-out process that occurs in most volleyball matches lasted all of the first point. Both sides came out swinging, looking to press the action and catch the other side on their heels. Southeast was finding it difficult to handle the hard-hitting abilities of the Rams early, but the blocking ability of the Lancers effectively took care of that, after a few switches.
Riverton got out to a 9-6 lead. An amazing one-armed, falling out-of-bounds miracle save by Bailee Ulery saved a rally for the Lancers, on a point they would eventually win. That tied the score up at 10-all. A massive back-row kill by Ulery two plays later once again knotted the score up. Lunsford and Ulery combined for a block kill to give Southeast a 13-12 lead. Momentum seemed to be on the Lancers side after this string of impressive plays.
Momentum, however, is fickle. Winning the side out on the next point, Riverton extended to a 19-13 advantage. The Lancers would not go down without a fight in this set, as they quickly worked the score back to 19-16. But, the play of the Rams proved too much for Southeast in this first set, as they won going away 25-20.
The second set was a frustrating affair for Southeast. Riverton raced out to a 4-0 lead. This set was marked by amazing plays by the Lancers, including aces by freshman Julie Martin and junior Kyra Steward and back-to-back hard kill shots by freshman MaKayla Buffington and freshman Sailor Jackson. These impressive plays were few-and-far between, as more miscues by Southeast made it near impossible for them to mount any type of scoring streak. Riverton would go on to take this set, and the match, by a score of 25-16.
Statistically, Kayln Bitner led the Lancers with 11 kills on the night. Bailee Ulery led Southeast with seven blocks and ten digs combined for both games. Next up for Southeast is the sub-state tournament this upcoming Saturday.