Lions defeat Firebirds in tiebreaker volleyball showdown

photo by: Conner Becker/Journal-World

Lawrence High is jubilant after defeating Free State in Game 3 of a home triangular on Thursday, Oct. 5, at LHS.

Defending its home court on senior night, Lawrence High battled past crosstown rival Free State in a tiebreaker (25-22, 13-25, 25-20) to claim the City Showdown title on Thursday.

FSHS (5-20), which beat Shawnee Mission West shortly before facing off against LHS (12-10), rallied back from behind and challenged the Chesty Lions, who were leading just 21-20, late in Game 3. LHS was determined not to let the game slip away, and the Lions tightened their grip on the lead at the right time.

LHS head coach Stephanie Scarbrough said her six seniors banded together when it counted most.

“Their communication and their chemistry just kept us fighting,” Scarbrough said. “They just keep on fighting and chipping away … I think it being senior night eclipses anything. We’re here to honor our seniors tonight, and we’re coming out with two great wins.”

Before defeating Free State, Lawrence High also claimed victory over SM West in the same triangular, but everyone in the building knew the crosstown clash was the main event. LHS senior libero Brecken Ostronic has experienced several of these rivalry games and said the crowd noise never seems to get old. Ostronic and the Lions had their home gymnasium roaring from the moment they jumped to a 4-1 lead over FSHS in Game 1.

“It makes communication on the court hard, for sure,” Ostronic said. “I would take the noise in the gym any day. It’s the best motivation you could ask for.

“… We had some miscommunications and the vibe got down, but something about this team never keeps it down,” she said. “We’re always one step ahead and ready to get back to it.”

After riding their hot start to claim Game 1, the Lions hit a snag in the second game when FSHS settled in and began taking advantage of all the commotion. The Firebirds overwhelmed LHS early on in Game 2, and FSHS coach Jayme Savage couldn’t help but appreciate the grit her team brought back to the floor as they won Game 2 to force a tiebreaker. They then went on to recover from a seven-point hole — but the gas stopped there.

“I knew it was going to be a battle from start to finish,” Savage said. “We just started off a little tight, and we began to pick it up from there … In those tight situations, you have to be aware of the different scenarios that could unfold, but unforced errors got us in the end.”

Both squads now turn their attention to the final pair of regular-season matches before the postseason. LHS travels to Emporia on Oct. 14; FSHS travels to Blue Valley on Oct. 14.


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