TWIN FALLS — The high school volleyball season got underway Wednesday, and Lighthouse Christian came out of the gates strong with a 25-12, 25-9, 25-19 sweep of Dietrich at Ryan Franklin Court in Twin Falls.
But with all of the unfamiliarity that comes with a new team and a new season, Lions head coach Tobie Helman was pleased with how her team performed on opening night regardless of the score.
“Our whole goal was to just kind of learn what it’s like to play with this group of people, what we need to work on, and what we do well,” Helman said. “You can practice and practice and practice, but the game really brings that out.”
The two teams were deadlocked early in the first set before Lighthouse rattled off six straight points, three of which came on aces by junior Ellie Jones.
The Lions dominated the rest of the set and carried the momentum over into the second set. The took the first nine points, thanks in part to a serving run by Ellie Boland, who had five aces in the first nine points. She had seven total in the set.
After leading by as much as 17 points in the second set and winning it easily, things got a little more difficult for Lighthouse in the third. A pair of kills by Jones helped create a 3-0 lead, but Dietrich seized the momentum and took a 15-11 lead before the Lions called a timeout.
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“That third set is always hard when you’ve won the first two, then people start to relax and aren’t mindful of things that they need to be,” Helman said. “So we just had a little chat about how do we fix that before it gets out of control.”
Lighthouse came out on fire after the timeout and took seven straight points, including two on aces by Jones that scraped over the net. The Lions controlled the rest of the match, and the final point came on a Dietrich service error.
The bounce-back performance in the third set provided a chance for Lighthouse to improve on a problem area from last season, Helman said of her team refocusing.
“We really struggled with that last year,” the coach said. “There were times when we couldn’t get it back. That’s something they want to do this year, to not make a bunch of unforced errors and things like that.”
“We wanted to do our best; we wanted to learn,” she added. “I learned a lot, hopefully the girls learned a lot, and I feel good about it.”