Kevin Goheen reports:
Lakota West used superior play at the net to give rival Lakota East its first loss of the volleyball season 25-23, 25-21, 14-25, 26-24 Wednesday night at Lakota East.
An estimated crowd of 1,500 watched as the Nos. 2-3 ranked Division I teams in the area battled for control of the Greater Miami Conference.
Senior outside hitter Mandy Stanislovaitis ended the match with a kill off an attempted block by Lakota East at the net.
“For East-West I don’t have to say a word,” said Lakota West coach Tracey Kornau. “These girls know each other from the neighborhoods, they’ve played against each other and gone to the same camps and clubs since junior high. It was fun.”
Lakota East drops to 11-1. The Thunderhawks are ranked No. 2 in this week’s Enquirer Division I area coaches’ poll and No. 4 in the state coaches’ poll. Lakota West is 12-1 and ranked No. 3 locally and No. 6 in the state.
Lakota West is now 6-0 and alone atop the Greater Miami Conference standings, while Lakota East falls to 5-1 in the conference. Mason is also in the mix for the league title at 5-0.
Lakota West leads the all-time series 11-5, including a tight three-game win in the district final last year.
Senior Rachel Cogan and junior Gabby Blados dominated play at the net in the first two games as Lakota West extended its consecutive game win streak to 28 straight.
The Firebirds rallied from a 15-7 deficit to win the first game 25-23. The score was tied five times after Lakota West caught up to the Thunderhawks, 17-17. Lakota West got its first lead of the match at 22-21 before finishing the game.
Lakota West broke free of an 11-11 tie in the second game with an 8-0 run. Senior outside hitter Annie Bierman had two of her unofficial 12 kills during that stretch. Lakota West answered with a 6-0 run of its own to get within two points, 21-19, but a kill by senior Donna Street stopped that rally.
“I think we connected on critical points that made a difference,” said Cogan. “Our attitude (changed). We had a slow start but our team really bonds well and we pulled each other up.”
Lakota East was led by senior outside hitter Ashley Evans’ 23 kills and 27 digs. Senior right-side hitter Danielle Fleming had 15 kills, while senior outside hitter Carlie Haddad had 12 kills for the Thunderhawks. Senior libero Madeline Garda had 40 digs for Lakota East, while senior setter Anna Starr had 40 assists.