Volleyball: Lyons earns the sweep against Longmont Christian

Lions improve to 14-6

  • Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Genevieve Newell goes up for a kill during the Lions' home matchup against Longmont Christian on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.

  • Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com

    Longmont Christian's Kylie Totems tips the ball backwards during the first set of the Warriors' match at Lyons on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.

  • Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com

    Lyons' Genevieve Newell (14) and Marley Chase (13) attempt to block a shot from Longmont Christian during a match Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 in Lyons.

  • Alissa Noe/BoCoPreps.com

    Longmont Christian's Christy Pickett sets the ball during the first set of the Warriors' match at Lyons on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.

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LYONS — Lyons volleyball has seen its fair share of peaks and valleys throughout its long season and on Tuesday night, the Lions proved their stock against visiting Longmont Christian.

Coming off a tough loss to Class 2A’s fifth-ranked Dayspring Christian Academy, the Lions bounced back with a 3-0 sweep of the Warriors. They left no doubt in sets two and three.

“It helps that the girls, they have a great team dynamic with each other,” Lyons coach Sarah Steele said after the 25-19, 25-15, 25-10 outcome. “They get along on and off the court and that really helps the morale, especially after a big loss. They took a little bit of a mental break and coming back, they were ready to go.”

The Lions improved to 14-6, thanks to leadership from seniors like Kayla Valente. The middle hitter led her team offensively with eight kills as senior setter Hailey Odell contributed 18 assists to the cause. Freshman outside hitter Genevieve Newell paced the defense with 12 digs.

Lyons already boasts 10 more wins than it had in Season C (4-10 during the spring), and the success is showing with every hit and every rotation.

“Last season was not very good at all, so I think it’s good to be really rebuilt,” Valente said. “We’re doing a lot better than we have in the past. Last year, we had the skill, just not the teamwork and this year, we do have the teamwork.”

Both teams displayed strong communication and team play, but the Lions held a bit of an edge with their strong hitting, strategic tipping and marathon serving. Longmont Christian proved scrappy as its defense carried the team throughout the match.

At one point, the Warriors prevented the Lions from victory for a few minutes with seven unanswered points. They, too, have seen quite the turnaround from last season as they’ve welcomed a new coach in Holly Pickett. Last spring saw the ladies winning just three games out of 14. Now, they’re 7-10 with an incredibly young squad as sophomores make up their core group of talent.

The Lions and Warriors kept the competition close throughout the first set, often battling point-for-point. When the score read 20-19 in the Lions’ favor, they decided they had had enough. Lyons won the next five points to put away Longmont Christian with a 25-19 final.

The Lions carried the momentum they started at the end of the first set and rode that wave all the way through the second. The home team surged to an 8-0 lead to keep the Warriors out of reach from the start and built that lead up to 24-8.

Then Longmont Christian started to fight back. The Warriors stole the next seven points before a service error ended that run. Lyons took the 2-0 lead with a 25-15 finish in the second frame.

“It’s important to our team that we build each other up and focus more on what others did than on what we did,” Longmont Christian sophomore Kylie Totems said. “When we do that, we play well as a team. We started doing that and we also started having fun.”

Lyons carried a similar tune into the third set when, once again, it opened with a long scoring tangent. The Lions rode that energy all the way to a 25-10, 3-0 final.

The Lions return to action on Thursday when they host Nederland as the Warriors head to Gilpin County on the same night.

“This is my first season as a coach. I had to step in after our first game. The previous coach resigned so I’m learning a lot here,” Pickett said. “I think one of my favorite things is watching my team full of super young players step up and know they’re facing seniors and still give their best.”