The unforced errors that ended Lawrence High’s day at the Joan L. Wells Volleyball Invitational on Saturday didn’t bother coach Stephanie Magnuson.
It was the fact that her team didn’t quite live up to the potential it showed in glimpses during the morning’s pool play that irked Magnuson.
Lawrence High fell to Bentonville (Ark.) in the semifinals of the Silver consolation bracket, 25-17, 25-21, ending its run at the Invitational. The Lions hosted the 12-team tournament and finished in a tie for 10th overall.
Magnuson wasn’t overly disappointed with the finish since she thought it was one of the best tournaments — if not the best — in the state.
“We have some amazing teams here. Obviously we wanted to get into Gold, but our pool was one of the hardest pools,” Magnuson said. “We were going into Silver hoping we could win it, but the cards didn’t fall that way.”
Lawrence was pooled with St. James Academy, Topeka Hayden and Shawnee Mission Northwest. St. James won the tournament in a thrilling match against Bishop Miege (25-17, 27-29, 25-21), and Hayden finished fourth. Northwest also made it to the semifinals of the Silver bracket.
LHS senior libero Kendyll Severa said playing stronger teams was more rewarding than getting “showing-off points” against a weaker squad.
“You have to build your level of play,” Severa said. “I think it makes us stronger as a team.”
Lawrence High opened the invitational, named after the legendary longtime LHS volleyball, with a victory against Shawnee Mission Northwest, 27-25, 25-22. Against a tougher Hayden team, the Lions scored just six points in the first set, but picked up 17 points in the final set. Against the champions from St. James, Lawrence fell, 25-16, 25-13.
“They played amazing in pool play,” Magnuson said. “They rose to the challenge. Other than one game in pool play, they played a great morning, which is, again, why it was so disappointing to not end the way we wanted.”
Seeded ninth, the Lions faced winless Dodge City and won in straight sets, 25-17, 25-21. Despite opening a 5-0 lead on Bentonville in their next game in the consolation semifinals, the Lions lost the first set, 25-21. The second set was tied at 17 until a rash of Lawrence High errors spotted Bentonville a couple of points. Bentonville won the final set, 25-22.
“If we were playing the last game how we were playing before, we would have definitely won that game,” Severa said. “The talking was off, and I think everybody started getting a little tired, but those aren’t excuses. In the end, it’s whoever wants it more.”
Magnuson will keep emphasizing to her players how good the team can be. The Lions will travel to a quad Thursday at Olathe North.
“We get those glimpses of the team that we can be, and it’s amazing,” Severa said. “We just need to pick up everything as a whole, so we don’t just get those glimpses, we get the whole game.”