LYONS – The Lyons Lions were down two key seniors and having to force players into bigger roles, but they proved able to challenge one of the top teams in their league in the Dawson School Mustangs.
In the end, the firepower for the Mustangs was enough to get them the win.
Dawson (12-2, 7-0) railed from deficits in the final three sets to defeat Lyons (4-10, 2-5) 3-1 on Monday, keeping them with Class 2A No. 1 ranked Denver Christian and No. 2 ranked Union Colony Prep in the Mile High League standings.
“It felt very well,” Dawson’s Bella Jurika said.
Jurika started quietly on offense in the first set but began to rack up the kills as the match continued. Her swings in the third and fourth set began to connect with power and allowed her to finish with a team-high 15.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Jurika said. “I feel like I could have done a little better. Next time I will do much better.”
Dagney Javes and Nicole Scribner each had nine kills and gave Dawson three key players to go to on the attack.
After losing 25-23 in the first set, Dawson trailed 15-9 midway through the second and in danger of going down two sets on the road. Jurika and Scribner would deliver the kills at the net and enough defense on the back line allowed them to erase the deficit and win it 25-22. A quick 6-1 deficit in the third set was answered and then a run late saw Dawson pull through 25-19 to take the lead.
No late momentum in the sets would carry over into the next. Again in the fourth, Lyons took its biggest lead of the night 15-6 and capitalized on hitting mistakes from the Mustangs. But like it did early on, Dawson received big kills from its trio of hitters and climbed all the way back to win it 25-23.
“We all talked and communicated much better about what we needed to work on and focus on,” Jurika said.
Things were not as easy for Lyons as two key seniors were out of the lineup. Taylor Maguire, one of the top players in kills in Class 2A last year, has not played this season due to an injury. The team recently suffered another injury with Charlotte Rogers, the current leader with 107 kills, also going down during the season.
With the recent loss of Rogers, Lyons coach Paula Maguire has been forced to put players in new roles and ask for more from her team in the rotation this year
“We’ve really had to find other firepower,” Maguire said. “We are relying on other girls to score points. We’ve been relying on our middles to do that.”
Avery Joy pulled double-duty on offense as the team’s setter. Kayla Valente led the middle hitters with eight kills on Monday. Maguire also saw a big game from Hailey Odell, who tied Joy with nine kills.
“Hailey Odell played amazing,” Maguire said. “She’s a sophomore and she blocked well and had zero hitting errors. She really stepped up and contributed to our scoring, which is huge.”
Getting the road win keeps Dawson in control of its own destiny for a league title, and with games with both Denver Christian and Union Colony Prep remaining, the Mustangs have hopes to finish strong this season.
“We have to keep staying positive and keeping pushing each other to do our best,” Jurika said.
As for Lyons, a close game with a top league team in Dawson is something it hopes will provide a spark to end their season on a positive note as well.
“I hope the girls keep believing,” Maguire said. “It’s been rough with some of the losses that we’ve taken, which normally I don’t think we would have if we had Taylor (Maguire) and Charlotte (Rogers) playing with us. But I do think they are understanding and they keep persevering.”