L-S volleyball records rare sweep of Baxter

Sep. 1—SULLY — Since 2012, Lynnville-Sully and Baxter have played as many matches that have gone five sets as they have three sets.

While the Hawks have controlled the series over that time frame, winning hasn't always been easy.

But in Tuesday's non-conference match, the Hawks were simply better.

Paige James and Aubree Arthur put down nine kills each, Alexy Conover recorded 10 digs and Lynnville-Sully downed Baxter 25-16, 25-20, 25-10 in its first best-of-five match this fall.

"We were ready for it. I'm glad we had a home quad to get the jitters out of the way because this could have looked different," Lynnville-Sully head volleyball coach Kyra Smith said. "We were ready to play however many sets it took. We had a really good student section, too."

Alaina Roberts

The Hawks improved to 10-3 against the Bolts since 2012. It was their first sweep of Baxter since 2019 and the fourth sweep total in the past 13 meetings.

"Our coverage wasn't the best and we could have been more aggressive with our swings," Baxter head volleyball coach Jordynn Wesselink said. "That's when we are most effective. We weren't capitalizing on our opportunities."

The Hawks jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening set and Alaina Roberts and James capped the run with an ace and a kill, respectively.

The Bolts rallied though as an ace from Adison Bonney and a kill from Abbie Meyer pushed the visitors in front 6-5.

Three kills from Majesta Vos flipped the lead back to the Hawks at 13-8. Baxter's Julie Damman and Conover exchanged kills to make it 15-10 and L-S stayed in front by at least five the rest of the way.

Caydence Sulzle

Leading 18-13, the Hawks used a 7-3 run to close it out.

James had two kills during that stretch and finished with nine kills, seven digs, two blocks and two aces to lead the Hawks in the victory.

"Her volleyball IQ has improved," Smith said about James. "She knows when to go for the big kill or when she needs to lay off and go for the open spots. She's grown to know her stuff on the net and what to do with the ball."

The Bolts hung around for a while longer in the second set. A kill by Damman put Baxter in front 4-3, but back-to-back aces by James shifted the lead back to the Hawks at 7-4.

That's when the Bolts rallied again. This time, a 4-0 run tied the frame at 8-all and the two teams also were even at 9-all and 10-all before two Arthur aces highlighted a 4-0 stretch by L-S.

Alexy Conover

Baxter (0-4) got within two or three a couple of times thanks to kills by Hannah Huffaker and Meyer, but L-S scored five of the final seven points to go up 2-0 in the match. That stretch featured three kills from Arthur.

"When things got close, we were shanking passes off their serve," Smith said. "That improved as the match went on."

The Hawks (4-2) controlled the third set from the opening point. They led 8-1 as Arthur went back to work at the net.

A Vos kill later made it 11-3 and back-to-back blasts by James pushed the margin to 17-8. She also had a kill that made it 20-8 and finished off the Bolts with one final blast to end the match.

Arthur finished with nine kills and five digs, Vos had six kills and five digs and Conover chipped in three kills and 10 digs.

"On any given night, any of our hitters can lead us," Smith said. "We have a ton of options at the net. That helps for sure."

Hannah Huffaker

Elise Alberts delivered 19 assists and had three digs, Roberts tallied three digs and two aces and Morgan Jones and Natalie Roberts each finished with two digs.

The Hawks were 45-of-49 in serves with five aces. Alaina Roberts served 15-of-15.

Meyer led the Bolts with eight kills and six digs, Bonney dished out eight assists, tallied three digs and served up two aces and Evelyn Boothroyd collected 11 digs.

Damman registered three kills and three assists, Huffaker put down three kills and Caydence Sulzle registered five digs. Alyvia Epps blasted two kills and Lydia Pierce totaled two blocks.

Baxter was 39-of-45 in serves with two aces.

Wesselink wants her hitters to be more aggressive, but she was happy with the way her team served.

"Our serving helps us out in most situations," Wesselink said. "We got them out of system with our serve."