The last time Lawrence and Shawnee Mission South met in a gymnasium in a high school girls' athletic event, the site was Wichita's Levitt Arena, and the event was the Class 6A state basketball tournament.
On Thursday, the venue was different and the event was a regular-season volleyball match. Much of the personnel was the same, however, and the outcome was identical.
Almost six months to the day that the Lions beat SM South, 45-42, for the state basketball title, LHS beat the Raiders, 15-11 and 15-4, and opened the volleyball season 3-0 with a quadrangular sweep at the Lions' gym.
Not coincidentally, the hardest hitters in volleyball SM South's Krista Singleton and Kate Benson and Lawrence's Jill Oelschlager and Jennifer Trapp were among the team leaders in basketball.
"THEY TALK about it all the time," said Ron Millard, who coaches both sports at SM South. "They'd say, `We're going to beat Lawrence.' Anytime you play Lawrence, in either sport, you know it's going to be a good game."
That's exactly what their first game was Thursday. LHS took a 4-0 lead, but the Raiders rebounded. The lead see-sawed to 11-all before Oelschlager served out the match.
"We just knew they'd be after us," Oelschlager, a 5-foot-9 senior hitter, said. "They're kind of like Manhattan. They're becoming our biggest rivals."
The second game wasn't so close. Lawrence jumped to a 10-1 lead, SM South closed to 12-4, then the Lions' ran off the final three points.
"The score was a wipeout," Millard said. "But it was a good game all the way through. I think it was fun to watch."
Lawrence's other matches weren't so fun. The Lions beat SM North, 15-2 and 15-6, and Leavenworth, 15-2 and 15-3.
"I THOUGHT we did really good," Oelschlager said. "We have so many returning starters and players we're more of a team. We're better friends this year. It really helps us communicate. We were really up for Shawnee Mission South."
Oelschlager was so up, she stayed up Wednesday night.
"I couldn't get to sleep until 4," Oelschlager said. "I was so nervous to play them. We've got such a good record, I didn't want to lose to them."
The Raiders and Lions, LHS coach Joan Wells said, are among the Sunflower League favorites.
"Shawnee Mission South has a lot of talent," Wells said. "I definitely expect them and Northwest and us to be competitive in the league."
THE OPENER, Wells said, showed the Lions their areas of weakness.
"Our serving was inconsistent, and we had some breakdowns in passing," she said. "But I was pleased. In that first game against South, we were down 11-10 and I called a time out and the kids really responded well. They didn't give up another point."
In Thursday's other matches, SM South beat Leavenworth, 15-2, 15-7, and SM North, 15-3, 15-3, and Leavenworth beat SM North, 15-12, 12-15, 15-10.
The Lions will travel to SM Northwest next Thursday for a quadrangular with the Cougars, Olathe South and Blue Valley North.