LOVELAND — Whether they are new to the Lyons varsity team or members of last year's Class 2A title-winning squad, the Lions collectively already realize that opponents through this 2018 season will be aiming intently to knock them down a wrung or two on the ladder each night out.
So far, it's been a couple of 3A Patriot League teams that have gotten LHS off to a slower-than-expected start.
Tuesday night featured a battle with Resurrection Christian that, in past years, has gone back and forth and has become a pretty intense rivalry. But with junior attacker Taylor Maguire unavailable because of injury, the Lions had a hard time finding any consistency in a 3-0 sweep at the hands of the Cougars.
With just six kills in the match and an unpolished effort on service and serve-receive, Lyons fell behind on the scoreboard in each game and couldn't manage enough point streaks to make any of the games close, falling 25-15, 25-16, 25-15. Afterwards first year head coach Heather Evans could only express a move-forward mentality with her team, knowing there is still a lot of learning going on.
"We just have a lot of young players, and a lot of them may be pretty new to the game ... we're playing catch-up on teaching a lot of the basics of positioning and stuff," Evans said after the match, Rez's season opener. "The pace of varsity is something they're still getting used to, and once we get everyone up to speed I think it will help big time.
"Taylor is an amazing player who levels everything out. You need as many of those players out there as you can get."
Without Maguire, who had to get stitches on her knee from a cut suffered in their opener last week against Frontier Academy, senior Kylen Christiansen represented the only full-time returner out on the court Tuesday, with Charlotte Rogers, Jesse Bartel, Estella Percarpio and Avery McCall having just a handful of sets under their belts.
Rez's fast play and tough serving loomed large in their win. Lyons suffered 17 receiving errors and gave up some momentum-gaining aces in the first two games that got the home crowd riled up along with the girls on the court.
The Cougars, who won 2A in 2013 and 2014 along with a runner-up spot in 2015, began games one and two with 8-1 and 10-4 leads, respectively. In game three, a 9-1 run broke a tie in the middle of the match and sent RCS well on its way to a sweep.
Christiansen acknowledged the work in progress, as well, and Lyons will try and rebound Thursday at Liberty Common, yet another Patriot League team.
"I fully expect that as we get to play together that a lot of stuff is going to iron out and I'm excited for that," Christiansen said. "Winning state last year is something that fuels us this year. We're conscious of that target on our back, but not afraid of it. We're ready for more challenges."
Lyons did serve for nine total aces in the match.
"We're excited for Thursday to go ahead and run out this lineup again after we have worked on it, get our passing down so we can set some girls to actually hit it over the net," Evans said. "You need to let your opponent make some mistakes."
Resurrection Christian 3, Lyons 0
At RCSLyons (0-2)151615Resurrection Christian (1-0)252525
Kills — Lyons: Kylen Christiansen 3, Gracie Jennings 1, Estella Percarpio 1, Avery Joy 1.
Blocks — Lyons: None.
Assists — Lyons: Not available.
Aces — Lyons: Christiansen 2, Kate Mortenson 2, Ava McCall 2.
Digs — Lyons: Christiansen 5.