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LHS volleyball team thrives in action-packed week

The Lennox High School volleyball team, under the dedicated leadership of Head Coach Vanessa Gabel, has had another remarkable week of intense action as the regular season draws to a close. With three matches on the schedule, the Orioles defeated Tri-Valley, 3-2, McCook Central 3-0, and Baltic, 3-2.

On Monday, Oct. 16 the Orioles hit the road to face Tri-Valley in their second match-up of the season. Lennox won the first encounter and managed to grab this one as well, winning 3-2 (20-25, 25-12, 25-16, 21-25, 15-12.)

“It was a much closer match than we would have liked, dropping set one and set four. Our serve receive really struggled right out of the gate, which left our offensive attack not up to our standards,” said Gabel. “The sets were well distributed by our setters, Lilly [Meyer] and Ella [Grengs], which allowed our primary hitters lots of opportunities to put the ball away.”

Key performances against Tri-Valley included Dani Highum’s 15 kills, 3 blocks, and 11 digs, Libby Kranz’s 11 kills, Greng’s 9 kills, 21 set assists, and 5 aces, Meyer’s 23 set assists, and Andie Peters’ 13 digs.

The Orioles continued their winning streak on Tuesday, Oct. 17 when they traveled to Salem to take on McCook Central.

The Orioles started and finished strong in this match, quickly overwhelming the McCook Central defense with their attack, winning 3-0 (25-15, 25-16, 25-13).

“The passers really focused on cleaning up their passing and their serve receive rating increased across the board and we were able to put out some solid sets to our front row athletes,” said Gabel. “Dani was on fire, as she hit at a .576% and put away 21 of her 33 sets as kills. McCook attempted to adjust their block and defense when Dani was in the front row but just couldn’t shut her down.”

Notable performances included Highum’s 21 kills, 8 digs, and 2 blocks, Grengs’ 6 kills and 15 assists, and Meyer’s 19 assists and 3 aces. Addison Martz also contributed with 3 aces, and Mallorie Bittner added 2 crucial blocks.

The week concluded with a Friday night showdown against the formidable Baltic squad, who came in boasting an impressive 18-4 record.

Lennox faced an early setback, trailing 1-10 in the first set due to some missed passes and swings. Lennox rallied back and put some points together to make it a better game but still dropped set one. However, Lennox used the momentum gained in set one to push into set two and really put away the Bulldogs. Both squads went back and forth exchanging sets until set five was needed. Lennox put it all together in that final set and walked off the court with a 15-11 final score, winning the match- up 3-2 (19-25, 25-19, 15-25, 25-22, 15-11).

“Our serving game was really on point with a couple of athletes each having four aces, Ella and Lilly, with many additional tough serves that weren’t aces but did put Baltic’s offense out of system,” said Gabel. “Our passers had a strong showing, with three players passing at a 2.0 rating or higher, Dani and Ella, and led by libero, Peters. That allowed our hitters to get some effective swings in against the Bulldog defense.”

Highum led the attack with 20 kills, Grengs contributed 15 kills and 22 set assists, and Martz achieved a season-high of 10 kills. The defense was also solid, with Martz tallying 6 blocks and Peters leading the back row with 20 digs.

“I was really impressed with the level of play against a team that has had such a successful season,” said Gabel. “The Bulldogs’ defense was outstanding and just wouldn’t let balls drop. The Orioles kept fighting even when things weren’t going their way to pull out another win against a big opponent.”

Win the win Lennox sits at 16-8. Before the match, Lennox also took a moment to celebrate Highum’s remarkable career achievements, as she surpassed 750 career kills and 800 career digs earlier in the week.

Lennox wraps up their regular season this week with a match-up against Sioux Falls Christian on Monday, Oct. 23 and a road game in Canton on Tuesday, Oct. 24.

Playoffs begin on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Second rounds are to be played Nov. 2, with the winner of those match-ups advancing to the SoDak 16.


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