Wichita — Let them eat cake.
After Joan Wells and the Lawrence High volleyball team won their 600th match en route to their third straight Wichita Northwest tournament title on Saturday, the players' parents surprised the team with a celebratory cake.
"It really surprised me," Wells said after the championship-match win. "This is fun. We're going to Burger King now to eat our 600 cake."
LHS cruised through the tournament without dropping a game. In pool play, the Lions defeated Wichita East 15-2, 15-0; Derby, 15-2, 15-1; Wichita Southeast, 15-4, 15-1; and Newton, 15-7, 15-2.
Lawrence defeated Manhattan, 15-13, 15-9, in the championship game. Wichita Northwest stopped Wichita Southeast, 15-3, 15-4, for third place.
"This tournament isn't that strong," Wells said. "But the fact that we played so consistently is very rewarding. We're working really hard on transitions and skills. It's important to play consistently like that, especially when you leave at 4:20 in the morning and the finals are at 7 at night."
The prospect of facing perennially powerful Manhattan in the finals provided motivation, Wells said.
"We were looking forward to Manhattan," she said. "We don't play them in any quads during the season. We see them at the Lawrence tournament and here and possibly at state. Both teams were up for it. It was a very well-played match. In the end, we really took charge. I was happy to see that."
In the first game of the championship match, the Lions jumped to a 10-5 lead, but Manhattan rallied to a 13-11 advantage.
"We talked about them getting the momentum," Wells said. "I called my last time out and we just came back. I'm really proud."
The Lions have lost the tournament just once since Northwest opened in 1978. LHS lost in the championship game to Manhattan in 1987.
"It was a total team victory," Wells said. "We feel fortunate to win in straight games. It's never been easy, and it wasn't easy tonight."
The Lions, 11-0, extended their consecutive match-winning streak to 93. The program is 603-65 overall. They'll travel Thursday to a quadrangular at Shawnee Mission West with SM East and SM Miege.