BOULDER — The Legacy and Boulder volleyball teams have literally been neck and neck in the Front Range League standings each of the past three years, and last year even finished with identical 13-12 records.
So when it came to their early-season meeting on Thursday, it wasn't surprising that each team was 4-3 so far in 2017, nor was it shocking that the squads were pretty evenly matched.
But after allowing a big Boulder rally to happen in the first set, the Lightning made sure not to slip up again in a 3-1 win over the Panthers, thanks in large part to the play of their front row. A take-them-down instinct took over for Legacy as each of their three game wins included lengthy point rallies to close things out.
Playing middle blocker full time on varsity this year, junior Bailee Newham played a major role in Legacy jumping out to a 1-0 record in the FRL as they look to finally break the trend of finishing in the middle of the pack.
"Absolutely we needed this one," Newham said after leading the team with 15 kills in the 23-25, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17 victory. "It was huge to come out on top, and it sets a great tone for us (in league)."
Newham had contributed 32 total kills in 21 sets played coming into Thursday night, but she got her fair share of swings in and took advantage of those opportunities.
Especially early, she caught a groove and it played out beyond her attack mode, too. Newham contributed several blocks and was strong on the serve as Legacy battled in front of Boulder most of the night.
"They're just really calm out there, and the more calm they are the better they play," said head coach Kerry Morgan, whose team heads to the Eaglecrest tournament this weekend. "They each know they have a job and it's about one team, not each person individually. They're working hard.
"Bailee is a wall and she's been swinging so well ... and just reading the ball. Tonight was an excellent night for her."
The Lightning quickly recovered from a pretty serious collapse in the first game, letting a 21-13 lead slip and giving Boulder a little bit of momentum to start. In that run, the Lightning had several hitting errors to go along with allowing the Panthers' Nicole Williams to get going a bit.
The Panthers (0-2 FRL) had a 20-20 set two game go awry with back-to-back kills from Newham and Emelia McBride (10 kills) starting a five-point stretch to end that set in Legacy's favor, and the Lightning had runs of six points in both sets three and four to get the win.
Jenna Wehrly made her presence known in set four for LHS, which also included five points off the block midway through that kept the energy on their side.
"About halfway through the second set I just kind of realized I was killing every ball I was getting," Newham said. "A lot of it was due to (setter) Emma (Quarles), because she was on fire. That chemistry really came out tonight."
Williams had 10 kills to lead Boulder, which will try and bounce back in league play next Monday at Horizon.
"I feel like a lot of times with us we just struggle with coming back from our mistakes and picking it back up, so I think we just could have had a lot more energy on the court than we did," Williams said. "We want to build on our consistency and keeping away from having those long dips."
Legacy 3, Boulder 1
At Boulder HSLegacy (5-3, 1-0)23252525Boulder (4-4, 0-2)25201717