Liberty Bell High School volleyball launched league play with wins against Lake Roosevelt on Oct. 1 and Oroville on Thursday (Oct. 3).
The varsity squad started slowly in Oroville’s gym, dropping the first game 25-19 before rebounding for a four-game victory.
“We have been struggling on away games, and it’s something we’re continually trying to address and improve,” coach Christine Scott said.
Sophomore Caitlyn Cooley had 11 kills against the Hornets. Fellow sophomore front-liners Jadyn Mitchell and Shae Taylor had nine and four kills, respectively.
In the league opener at home against Lake Roosevelt, the Lady Lions came away with a gritty five-game win: 25-21, 16-25, 25-21, 15-25, 15-10.
The Lake Roosevelt match was a see-saw battle. The Raiders tied the match twice, with wins in games 2 and 4, before the Lady Lions took the decisive fifth game. Up-and-coming freshman Ellie Blank had back-to-back kills and an ace on serve to power Liberty Bell in game 5. Blank finished the match with seven kills.
Game one against Lake Roosevelt couldn’t be called a turning point, but it may have been decisive. Mitchell ended a 4-0 Raider run at the start of the game with a stuff block. Senior Hailey Dammann was first to serve for Liberty Bell and rattled off 11 straight points to give the Lady Lions an 11-4 lead.
The team needed all of that early cushion, falling behind 17-19. The Lady Lions evened the score at 21 and then handed the ball back to Dammann to serve. She started her service with two straight aces. Mitchell finished the game with a kill, one of 13 for the match.
“Our serving was super aggressive. That was huge,” Scott said. “I was proud of these girls,” she added, especially since about half of them were battling colds.
The early win against Lake Roosevelt could loom large by the end of the season. The Raiders are 2-1 in league play, with the loss to Liberty Bell the only blemish on their record so far.
The Lady Lions played Manson in a battle of 2-0 teams in league play on Tuesday (Oct. 8). They face a major test at league powerhouse Brewster on Wednesday (Oct. 9), then host Waterville/Mansfield at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday (Oct. 12). Liberty Bell lost to Waterville/Mansfield to open the season.