Last year, Free State had its way with Lawrence High during three regular-season volleyball meetings before falling to LHS at sub-state, where it mattered most.
This year, their meetings have been tighter and, because of that, tonight’s regular-season finale for both teams figures to be a high-energy affair.
LHS (20-16) will play host to Free State (16-20) at 6 tonight in a best-of-five dual that will decide the season series and bragging rights.
In addition, tonight’s match will be Senior Night for three LHS seniors.
“Above the fact that it’s Free State and we are 1-1 with them this season, is the fact that it’s Senior Night, and we have three special seniors who we really want to honor,” LHS coach Stephanie Magnuson said.
The dual will mark the final home contest in the careers of Jasmyn Turner, Carrie Klemencic and Alex Kincaid. With volleyball being a sport known for its tight-knit culture, that fact was not lost on Firebirds’ coach Nancy Hopkins, who said she’d do her best to emphasize that the most important aspect of tonight’s match would be that her team remain sharp in preparation for Saturday.
“It’s another match to prepare us for sub-state,” Hopkins said, “a chance for us to play one more time against a competitive team prior to that tournament. It’s also a chance for us to share in their Senior Night. I don’t consider any team a rival. Some do, but me, I look at it as another chance to play prior to sub-state. We’ll play hard either way.”