High School Sports

Packed crowd energizes Dimond in homecoming volleyball win over West

The Dimond volleyball team already had plenty of motivation Friday in its matchup with West. The two teams have been atop the Cook Inlet Conference all season.

But to top it off, Dimond’s homecoming week meant the highly anticipated matchup was played in a packed gymnasium filled with family, friends and foes. That crowd energized the Lynx in their 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-14, 25-11) win over the Eagles.

“I didn’t really want to go to homecoming on a loss,” Dimond senior Kailei Muehlenkamp said. “It was the biggest crowd that I’ve played (in front of). It was bigger than Dimond and South last year.”

After the two teams went back in forth in the first two sets with each claiming one, the Lynx extended their winning streak to 12 matches in a row and remained undefeated against both Cook Inlet Conference and Alaska competition by winning the third and fourth sets convincingly.

“West is an unbelievable team and it’s going to be a dogfight anytime we play,” Dimond coach Kim Lauwers said. “It has been so far and I think every night we come out it’s going to be like that.”

Volleyball teams have six players on the floor, but Dimond was able to feed off the energy provided by what Lauwers called their “seventh man.”

“Our crowd helped us a lot so we were happy that our fans helped boost us there,” she said.


While the crowd provided energy after points and in-between sets, Muehlenkamp said the Lynx did well to focus and communication when they were on the court.

“I think our team does very well with tuning it out and not letting it affect how we play,” she said.

The Lynx took the first set 25-19 but the Eagles answered right back by claiming the second 25-17. Dimond was up 14-7 in the third set when West called their first time out. Dimond would go on to break the 1-1 tie with a 25-14 win.

The fourth and final set was all Dimond as they capitalized on some mistakes by West and took over on defense to close out the night with a 25-11 win to win the match in four sets.

Muehlenkamp said the Lynx showed an ability to fix earlier mistakes and tighten up defensively, which helped them pull away in the final two sets.

“It’s short-term memory and I think on defense we just turned it on,” Muehlenkamp said.

Lauwers praised West for its offensive talent and prowess and said slowing the Eagles down with several key blocks vaulted the team to the win.

“I was really proud of our defense,” she said. “Serving tough and playing great defense.”

Lauwers said the teams are evenly matched. Dimond took a narrow 3-2 win the first time the teams played.

“We know we have to play our best and I’m pretty sure West feels the same way,” she said. “There’s no secrets out there, we were just fortunate to come out on top tonight.”

Lauwers knows that better than most that both teams are very talented since she also coaches players from both schools on her Midnight Sun club volleyball team.

“We’re all friends and I think we do a good job of turning friends into opponents and not seeing faces (of friends),” Muehlenkamp said.

Josh Reed

Josh Reed is a sports reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He's a graduate of West High School and the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.