ALTAMONT — A week removed from a 1-2 debut quad at Parsons, the Labette County Grizzlies stitched together a 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-17) sweep in a best-of-five set dual with Coffeyville on Thursday in the Grizzlies’ home opener.
“I was concerned,” Labette County head coach Heather Wilson said. “Coffeyville is senior laden and I knew they’d bring energy. But our girls matched that energy. In a dual, you know it’s all-or-nothing.”
Coffeyville came out hot early in the first set, at one point taking a 17-13 lead that forced the Grizzlies into a timeout.
Out of the stoppage, Labette County went on a 9-0 run with Anna Dean serving to take a commanding 22-17 advantage. The Grizzlies finished the first set on a 12-1 run.
“We talked about serving more aggressively and putting them out of system,” Wilson said. “Like every team, if they’re forced out of system, they struggle. Then Anna got on a roll with her serves.”
Dean finished the match with a team-high eight kills for the Grizzlies. The sophomore added five aces and 22 digs.
“She came in kind of flat, and we need her to play well to be successful,” Wilson said. “I got on her in a huddle and she responded instead of getting irritated that I was on her case. She bucked up.”
Senior hitter Sydnie Stice, who came into the match battling a fever, had six kills on a team-high .364 hitting percentage to go along with five digs and two blocks.
“She got blocked twice early and it rattled her, but then she got smarter,” Wilson said. “That’s true with our whole team. We know we’re athletic, but we’re trying to play smart. Sydnie is a great hitter so she realized that.”
Freshman setter Shelbi Wilson put on an all-around display with 28 assists, three kills, two blocks and eight digs.
“She played very well,” Wilson said. “I was pleased with her versatility. She’s handling errors better. She’s still a baby out there. But I was proud of how she got fired up for everyone. She’s definitely seeing the floor very well.”
The win, which doesn’t count towards SEK League standings, improves Labette County’s record to 2-3 overall.
“We’re still figuring out our dynamic,” Wilson said. “I feel like we’re understanding that if we spread the ball around, we become more versatile and dynamic. That’s created more opportunities to stay in system.”
The Grizzlies head to the Iola Tournament on Saturday in their third date of the season.
“There’s a few different teams there this year, so that’s interesting for us,” Wilson said. “We also play Burlington right out of the gate in pool play, and they’re at the top of 3A. So that’s exciting to go battle.”