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Volleyball: Diving into Legacy’s breakout start

Plus notes on JA, Niwot, Frederick and Holy Family

Legacy's Alexandra Urbina poses for a photo before practice at the school on Wednesday.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
Legacy’s Alexandra Urbina poses for a photo before practice at the school on Wednesday.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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The term “breakthrough” in sports is often an oversimplification of witnessing good things over a current period — better performances, bigger win streaks — and assuming it will last.

Sometimes though, it’s much more prognostic.

When the volleyball program at Legacy High School followed up three straight losing campaigns with 18 wins last fall (its best season in memory), the hope was that this level of success could carry into the future. Exactly what’s been happening.

Led by a third coach in three seasons in Will Rozum, an undersized kills leader in Alexandra Urbina, the Lightning moved to 10-0 on the season with a win at Ralston Valley Tuesday. They’ve now won 28 sets this season and have dropped just three.

“I’d like to think we can be very competitive moving forward. I’m not sure if I’m ready to call us a power certainly,” Rozum said when asked about the idea of his program emerging into a perennial power.

“But I think we can be competitive. And you know how it is in sports I’m sure, so much of it is that mental piece, that confidence piece, and once you have that breakthrough season like ‘Holy cow, we’re doing some good things here’, that can now become the expectation and that can become the norm. And I think people, players and athletes are eager to rise to that expectation.”

The focus for his team turns to the play inside the Front Range League, where the Lightning have hung mostly around the middle of the pack in recent memory. Their third-place finish in the league last season was their best in a decade.

Urbina — a Santa Clara commit who is the latest Division-I beach volleyball player to come out of the area after Monarch’s Sophie Kubiak went to Stanford and Broomfield’s Sophie Buschmann to Hawaii — said the team’s aspirations will stay much the same going forward. Getting better individually, together, etc.

For her own game, meanwhile, she’s continued to dazzle with creative kills — powerful and ones guided with a feather touch — as well as help out in all other spots on the court.

Through the first month, Urbina led the team in kills (3.4 per set) and was second in digs (2.8) and service receptions (129).

“One of our successes is due to how balanced we are, we have a lot of good players,” Rozum said. “But you wouldn’t look at our team and see the 5-(foot)-7 girl and think ‘Oh yes, that’s the one averaging three and a half kills per set.”

Undersized.

Under the radar.

They’re oversimplifications for a team still working to make its mark.

The Lightning travel to Fossil Ridge Thursday.

Fantastic Four

Jefferson Academy has started the season with six wins in eight games as four players already have 37 or more kills to go along with double-digit aces.

Laila Gallaher leads the way with 50 kills and 10 aces. Emilee Harding has 46 kills and 13 aces, Monica Slusser 48 and 10, and Jessica Schaffer 37 and 10.

One and Only

Niwot (3-2) was the only area team ranked in the CHSAA coaches poll top 10 this week. The Cougars began the season with a win over Silver Creek before going 2-2 at the Lewis-Palmer Tournament last weekend.

There, they beat the Rangers for the first time in recent memory. They’d been 0-5 against the Monument volleyball power dating back to 2016.

Breaking Bad

Frederick (6-3) snapped a two-game losing streak Tuesday, beating Brighton in four sets. Katelin Sindelar came into the match averaging 2.9 kills per set, a mark good enough to put her among the top 10 in 4A.

Holy Family (4-4) has gotten back to .500 after a tough opening schedule and a 1-4 start. The Tigers beat Regis Jesuit in five sets for their third straight win Monday.

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