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Lions dominate first day of state tournament

Hannah+Stewart+leaps+with+other+members+of+the+LHS+volleyball+team+as+they+near+the+end+of+their+second+set+against+Blue+Valley+High+School.+The+Lions+dominated+the+first+day+of+play+at+the+state+tournament+in+Salina.
Hannah Stewart leaps with other members of the LHS volleyball team as they near the end of their second set against Blue Valley High School. The Lions dominated the first day of play at the state tournament in Salina.

Hannah Stewart leaps with other members of the LHS volleyball team as they near the end of their second set against Blue Valley High School. The Lions dominated the first day of play at the state tournament in Salina.

Emily Kruse

Emily Kruse

Hannah Stewart leaps with other members of the LHS volleyball team as they near the end of their second set against Blue Valley High School. The Lions dominated the first day of play at the state tournament in Salina.

By Emily Kruse, Photo Editor

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SALINA — The Lions enter Saturday’s state volleyball semifinals after an undefeated first day of competition.

They went into the day with the No. 1 seed and a 31-2 record. The proved they were deserving of the seed as they dispatched each of their opponents today without losing a single set.

Their wins included dominant performances over Blue Valley West and Gardner-Edgerton high schools before taking on Blue Valley High to wrap up the day.

“I was super pumped because we brought all of our energy out on the court,” said senior Brooke Wroten, “and I can’t wait for our next game, too.”

Blue Valley’s Tigers gave the Lions a run for their money in both sets, as they continuously tied the score and kept coming in hot. However, LHS persevered and pulled through 25-17 in the first set and 27-25 in the second.

The team was led by impressive performances from their all-senior roster during the Blue Valley High matches. Among them, Baylee Unruh had nine kills followed by Sammy Williams with seven kills and Michaela Cordova with six.Lauren Maceli had nine digs and Hannah Stewart had eight digs. Finally, Laura Willoughby had a grand total of 20 assists, the most out of anyone today.

The team is in the one seed in its bracket for tomorrow’s semifinals at Tony’s Pizza Event Center in Salina. Play starts at 10 a.m. Tickets are $7 for students and $9 for adults.

Fans matter, Wroten said.

“I think they’re really encouraging,” she said. “They make us want to play better and with more energy. They help with that.”

The winner of that game faces the winner of the other bracket to compete for the state title.

Among those pulling for the Lions will be former coaches Jo Huntsinger and the team’s first coach, Joan Wells, who led the team to 15 state championships during her coaching time.

In her early days of coaching, Wells said she coached without pay.

“At that time you coached and you played because you loved sports and because you wanted the girls programs to progress and that’s just what you did,” Wells said.

Huntsinger, who played for LHS and coached for the team, said she admires the hard-working athletes and students on the current team.

“You know what I really love about this team is this current team is old school Lawrence High volleyball,” she said.

About the Contributor
Emily Kruse, News Photo Editor

This is my second year on staff and my second year as news photo editor. I am always busy and photography takes up my whole life. Barb won't let me leave...

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Lions dominate first day of state tournament