On a boisterous Senior Night at Free State High, the Firebirds used the crowd’s energy to slip past Lawrence High.
Olathe East went home as the winner of the triangular featuring both Lawrence schools, but most people forgot when LHS and FSHS took the court.
Some thought two sets weren’t long enough.
“I wish it could have gone to three,” LHS libero Zoe Reed said after Free State’s 25-18, 28-26 victory.
FSHS senior Mariah Dickson, one of four senior Firebirds featured at Senior Night, said the match was exciting for the fans, but not how she wanted to go about beating the Lions.
“I would have liked to not make it so close,” Dickson said.
Seniors Brie Mingus, Sam Landgrebe and Dezzie James joined Dickson as the celebrated Firebird seniors on the evening. The Lions came in assuming the meet would go in the Firebirds’ favor.
“It was Free State’s night,” LHS coach Stephanie Magnuson said.
But it wasn’t all Free State’s night. The hype must have gotten to FSHS early, Firebirds coach Nancy Hopkins said. FSHS lost to O-East, 25-22, 25-20.
They rallied to beat the Lions, but Hopkins wasn’t overcome.
“It’s a win,” Hopkins said. “I don’t make such a big deal out of the rivalry.”
The players didn’t either. The aftermath was friendly, with athletes embracing each other on a special night for the Free State seniors.
“Our seniors congratulated their seniors,” LHS junior Krista Costa said. “It was a friendly match.”
Many of the girls on LHS and FSHS were interested in the outcome of the tennis match between the two schools. And just like that event, the volleyball teams won’t let competition get in the way of friendship.
“We’ll act like we never played each other,” Dickson said. “We’re always still friends no matter who won.”
Olathe East also beat LHS, 25-10, 25-17.