Lawrence High is to volleyball as Steffi Graf is to tennis.
Powerful, dominating, invincible are words that come to mind in describing both Graf AND the Lions 15-3, 15-2 winners over Topeka in Saturday's regional net final at the LHS gym.
The title match took a Graf-like 35 minutes.
"We don't think about that," said senior hitter Kristin Kampschroeder, referring to time of matches. LHS thrashed Shawnee Heights, 15-10, 15-4, in a semifinal match also played in under an hour.
"We just try to play together, play the best we can," Kampschroeder said. "If we do that, those things (quick matches) take care of themselves."
The Lions, who now advance to next Saturday's state finals at the Topeka Expocentre, have been playing quite well this season.
LHS, in fact, will take a 35-0 mark to the Class 6A state meet. LHS has dropped just three games all season.
"I'M REAL proud of the kids and our record," said coach Joan Wells. "I am as confident with this team as any in our volleyball history. We have a lot of ability. It's a matter of doing it. Sometimes at the state tournament, it's not so much the other teams, as yourself.
"Teams are aware of us," noted Wells. "I'm sure (Shawnee Mission) Northwest and Manhattan are looking at tapes of us, looking at our weaknesses and figuring out what they need to do to beat Lawrence."
LHS showed no weaknesses Saturday, the only "blemish" a narrow 15-10 decision in the first game against Heights.
LHS trailed early before rallying.
"WE STARTED slow," said junior hitter Heather Flachsbarth, "but as the day went on, we played better."
"We were a little nervous the first game," said Kampschroeder. "That's to be expected I guess. The last was the best game we've played all year."
The Trojans, in fact, didn't know what hit them. Flachsbarth blasted one spike SO hard it smashed against Topeka's Brandi Steinmetz's chest, knocking her down.
It looked like she'd been hit by a Mike Tyson body shot.
"We don't try to hit people," said Wells, "but we do like to create situations that get us up. When you hit somebody, it's usually because they're out of position.
"For us, a big block gets us up. Today we were keying on (Troy's) Beth Fisher. If we blocked her, that fired us up."
The spikes, including some by Gwen Mullens and Erin McElwain, also brought cheers from the Lions and their fans.
"All we do is put it down," Kampschroeder said of the hitters. "The others do all the work, setting it up for us."
Leslie Catlin and Lynn Stoner were major contributors setting the ball, while Catlin, Jennifer Nelson and Megan Kampschroeder had some good stretches serving.
"All in all, it was a good day," said Wells. "The first match, we had butterflies and were not passing well. We played well after that match.
"After that, we were more consistent. This team has a lot of pressure with the undefeated record. They've set some high goals. Sometimes it's hard getting started.
"They watched Seaman and Topeka play a long match and decided they'd have to go out and play well to win it."
The Lions hope to play well at state.
"It's exciting. I think we can do well. This team is very balanced," said Kampschroeder. "Each time out, we want to play better. The day to think about it (record) is Oct. 28 at 11 at night (hopefully after LHS wins state)."