FORT DEFIANCE – During Robert E. Lee volleyball practices, head coach Jan Williams runs a drill where the team is trailing and has to find a way to rally for the win. She wants to see if her team can keep its intensity up even when they are behind in the game.
And the players discuss it also.
“Every day before a game, we always talk about not getting in a hole and starting off strong,” said Lee High junior Jennifer Williams.
But that still doesn’t stop the team from falling behind. Tuesday night, playing at Fort Defiance, the Lee Ladies got behind 8-1 in the opening set before finding its game and rallying for the win. From there Lee went on to a four-set victory, topping the Indians 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-16.
Jennifer Williams led the way with 20 kills and seven blocks, including a set-winning block to put Lee in front 2-1.
Lee finally got things straightened out in the first set, but it wasn’t until MacKensie Bowles’ kill started a 5-0 run that Lee got the lead, going in front 23-21. Bowles finished the night with nine kills and 19 digs.
After dropping the second set, one it fell behind 8-3, Lee finished the match by sweeping the final two sets. The third set was tied 7-7 before a Jennifer Williams’ kill sparked a 9-3 run that put Lee in control. Lee then went up 11-5 in the fourth set and was never really challenged.
“We struggled defensively in that spell,” Fort coach Sue Leonard said of the third-set swing. “They had so much momentum with their offense. We do as well as we can with the players we have. We are not very tall and that makes it challenging. And they got a lot of blocks.”
Lee was swept last Thursday by Turner Ashby and Jan Williams was concerned her team wouldn’t come into the match with Fort with the right mental attitude. That could explain some of the slow start. But things don’t get easier with Spotswood up next for Lee. It’s one tough match after another in the always tough Valley District. In the long run, that could help Lee as it looks ahead to conference and regional play.
“I told them this is it, this is postseason, this is our conference tournament, this is what we’re going to be playing, this is it,” said the coach. “I’m trying to get them mentally to come out and, at the very first point, to go after it because this is the rest of the season, games like this.”
Lindsey Bosserman finished with 15 digs for Lee, while Amber Johnson had 28 assists and Camryn Shull had 17 assists. Alyx Steitz finished the night with nine kills and 19 digs for Lee and Meghan Wood had four kills and 19 digs.
Fort was led by Madison 17 assists, including going over 1,000 for her career. Tori Cleveland had eight kills and 27 digs for the Indians, while Jayden Beasley had 13 kills in the loss. Casey Mozingo had eight kills and 20 digs for Fort.
Fort Defiance won the jayvee match 25-13, 25-14. Lydia Landes had five aces and six digs for the Indians.