By Don Nelson
At the end of the day — actually, at the beginning and in the middle as well — the Waterville High School volleyball team had no answer for Katie Labanauskas. The Liberty Bell High School junior rained 22 kills on the Shockers as the Lady Lions made a dramatic comeback to take a home court match, 3 games to 2, on Thursday (Oct. 6).
Fittingly, Labanauskas drilled home the winning spike in the fifth and deciding game to give Liberty Bell its third win of the year. She also sealed the Lady Lions’ other two victories with final-point kill shots.
But it was a balanced team effort that kept the Lady Lions alive and gave them a chance to win the match. Erin Schuh made 36 passes, 13 digs and added seven kills herself. Libero Ruthann Matteson served three aces, and Carlynn Treise hit the deck for eight digs. Coach Christine Scott had praise for all of her players after the tense match.
Game one started out close but Waterville gradually moved to 24-16 lead before finishing with a 25-18 win, putting them up 1-0.
Game two was close all the way, with the Lady Lions managing to hang on for a 25-22 win to make the score 1-1.
Waterville jumped to a big lead — as much as nine points — in game three, but Liberty Bell fought its way back to a 24-24 tie on a Labanauskas spike. But the Shockers scored the next two points, winning 26-24 and taking a 2-1 lead.
In the crucial fourth game, the teams stayed within a point or two of each other until the Lady Lions pulled out to a 24-18 lead. Waterville made it uncomfortably close at 24-21, only to be victimized by another Labanauskas winner.
That made it a 2-2 tie, with the deciding fifth game going to the first team to reach 15 points. Liberty Bell started out fast and didn’t slow down on the way to a 15-9 win and a 3-2 victory in the match.
Earlier in the week, the Lady Lions lost at league-leading, unbeaten Manson, 3-0. They played at Oroville on Tuesday (Oct. 11), going into that game with a 3-7 season record compared to Oroville’s 1-7 record. Liberty Bell hosts Lake Roosevelt on Saturday (Oct. 15), with varsity play beginning at 1 p.m., and is at Tonasket next Tuesday (Oct. 18).