Lawrence High joined select company with two victories at a volleyball quadrangular Thursday at LHS.
With victories over Olathe North and Shawnee Mission Northwest, the Lions became the fifth program in the nation to reach the 900-win plateau. LHS rocked Olathe North, 15-2, 15-2, and hung on for a 15-9, 13-15, 15-8 victory over SM Northwest to reach the milestone.
"Tradition is awesome," said second-year LHS head coach Jo Huntsinger, a former Lion volleyball player. "I love coaching with it, but as far as numbers go that was absolutely something we never ever talked about. It's neat for the program, but it's not something I discuss with the kids. We're playing one ball at a time."
The Lions, 13-11 this season and 900-116 all time, lost the quad's finale -- a 15-8, 15-3 setback to Shawnee Miege.
"What we wanted to do was beat a team we had no business beating," Huntsinger said of Miege, now 25-6 and ranked No. 2 in Class 5A. "They are physically better than us, but that doesn't matter. In high school athletics, you can beat teams better than you if you if have the right mental approach."
In the first game against Miege, LHS senior Kayla Dreiling connected on back-to-back aces to ignite a 7-2 run. The Stags countered with a closing 13-1 binge.
In the second game, LHS scored the first point before the Stags unleashed a 10-0 run to take control of the match.
"We wanted to sweep our quad," LHS senior outside hitter Ann Weygint said. "We made a lot of mistakes and we need to learn from them."
Lawrence's most exciting match was against SM Northwest. LHS led 11-7 in the second game before unforced errors allowed the Cougars to rally for a 15-13 win.
In the third and decisive game, the Lions trailed 7-5 until junior Becky Wenger's back-row kill that clipped the net gave LHS sideout and momentum. A kill by junior Ashley Bechard deep in the right corner and Dreiling's cross-court kill following a Bechard assist sparked a 10-1 run to close the match.
"It was frustrating to lose that second game, but we were able to come back in the third game," Huntsinger said of the Northwest match. "They're a good team."
Miege, fourth at last week's Wells Invitational at LHS, went 3-0 in the quad. The Stags beat Olathe North, 15-5, 15-4, and SM Northwest, 15-2, 15-6.
Next for LHS is a quadrangular at Topeka Washburn Rural on Tuesday. The Lions will travel to the Overland Park Aquinas tournament on Oct. 16 before their final home quad on Oct. 19. Sub-state is two weeks from Saturday.
"We're certain to get better every time we go out on the court," Weygint said. "It's taking awhile, but we'll be there by sub-state."
-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org