Photo by Don Nelson
Liberty Bell’s third-year head volleyball coach, Christine Scott, encouraged the Lady Lions during timeout in a recent home match.

The Liberty Bell High School volleyball team’s dramatic turnaround this year was almost enough to get them into post-season play.

The Lady Lions finished the season with an overall record of 9-6 and a record of 4-4 in league play — good enough for fifth place. But only four teams from the CW 2B league move on in the playoffs.

Liberty Bell ended the season on an upbeat note with a 3-0 victory on Oct. 23 against visiting Bridgeport. They finished just behind Soap Lake, which had a 5-3 record in league competition.

Last year, Liberty Bell was 3-13 overall. The Lady Lions lost several seniors from that squad. Returning this year were senior libero Ruthanne Matson, an all-league first team selection last year, and juniors Hannah Bakke, Mckenna Ott and Hailey Damman. They were joined by senior Sky Schrum, sophomore Madison Surface, and freshmen Jadyn Mitchell, Joslyn Rispone, Caitlyn Cooley and Shae Taylor.

Moral victories don’t count in the win column, but the Lady Lions showed how far they’ve come by nearly knocking off powerhouse Brewster, which took the league title with an 8-0 record. On Oct. 4, Liberty Bell battled the Lady Bears all night before falling, 3-2, losing the fifth and deciding game 15-13.

“Volleyball has every sign of a program headed in the right direction,” Liberty Bell Activities Director Michael Wilbur said of the season. “The girls played with a lot of intensity and increasing confidence over the course of the year. They had a great match against Brewster, one of the toughest teams in the league, and came within a few points of earning a win.”

“I think that, next year, the volleyball squad is going to pull off some more wins in close matches like that. Christine Scott and Stephanie Mitchell are doing a great job coaching and leading these girls,” Wilbur added. “The volleyball skills of their athletes are improving by leaps and bounds. Just as importantly, the players are showing an increased dedication to strength and conditioning which has the potential to contribute hugely to future success.”