Lawrence High volleyball falls to Blue Valley Northwest 3-0 in season opener

photo by: Braden Shaw

The Lawrence High volleyball team huddles up during its season opener against Blue Valley Northwest Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, at LHS.

The Lawrence High volleyball team learned about the power of leadership last year when nine seniors lifted the Lions to a 38-2 season and the 2018 Class 6A state title.

This year, LHS will take on the daunting task of following up those accolades with just four seniors on the roster.

“We definitely have to step up,” senior Haven Bellerive said. “I mean, there’s only four of us and we try to set a good example for all the underclassmen and younger teams. But I love these girls. They’re some of my best friends.”

That group officially started stepping up on Tuesday night, albeit in a disappointing fashion, dropping its season opener to Blue Valley Northwest in three sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-20) at Lawrence High.

The Huskies set the tone from the very start of the match, taking an early lead in the first set and maintaining the pressure to take the first frame, 25-19.

LHS did strike back in the next frame, though, keeping pace with BVNW thanks to sophomore Gianna Cooper’s seven kills in the second set.

As the Lions tried to keep pace, senior Asjah Harris said the team fell back on its ideology of “next ball” to stay in the moment.

“Even if we mess up, that’s just our mindset to help us with every point,” Harris said.

However, BVNW did manage to fight back and hold on to take the set 25-23 and, more importantly, a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

As this adversity set in, the saving grace for Bellerive was the student section, who “helped hype us up” throughout the match.

“(That energy) just gets you rushing and you just want to push yourself even harder because you know that they’re counting on you and your team’s counting on you,” Bellerive said. “That helps you go to another level while playing.”

That energy propelled LHS into the third set, although it was ultimately more of the same as BVNW held on for the 3-0 victory in the season opener.

However, Harris sees this result as just the beginning of a new journey. This team has played together for some time now, moving into more prominent roles on last year’s squad and winning JV league together.

“(That experience) is helping us a lot,” Harris said. “Just playing together for a long time is really helping with our team chemistry and how we play.”

Harris, who had 11 kills on the night, doesn’t see this season as much of a learning curve as one may think, emphasizing how the seniors are more than ready to step into larger leadership roles. She said the team can continue to improve its energy levels and communication, and that the team will lean on this senior group to “help our team do our best.”

Although the season opener may not have gotten the Lions off on the right foot to open things up, Bellerive (eight kills), is still proud of an effort that the team can build on this season.

“They worked their butts off, (they shed) sweat and tears on that court,” Bellerive said. “We’re going to work really hard and play harder every game.”

LHS (0-1) will compete in a tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday at Olathe South.


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