After cruising to a victory in its first match of the Region IV tournament with a commanding sweep of Bartlett in three straight sets, the Dimond volleyball team faced much tougher challenges on their way to the championship game.
The Lynx lost the first set in both of their next two matches against Chugiak and West before winning three straight to advance to the next round.
“It all just takes teamwork and effort and hustle,” Dimond senior outside hitter Jolee Kelzenberg said. “Both West and Chugiak are really good teams, and it is always super fun and challenging to play them.”
Against the Eagles on Friday night at Service High, Dimond came away with a 3-1 (19-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-21) win, battling adversity in each set as the match went down to the wire.
“It’s just good volleyball and playing in the regionals, everyone is going to be up to play us,” Dimond coach Kim Lauwers said.
West came firing out of the gates to set the tone for the night by winning the opening set by the widest margin of victory of the night at 25-19. West had topped South 3-1 on Thursday to reach the match of tourney unbeatens Friday with Dimond.
The Eagles carried that momentum over to the second where they jumped out to a 11-3 lead at one point, but the Lynx would battle back to tie it at 16 apiece. West built another lead 21-16 but Dimond erased that as well, and the two went back and forth until the Lynx prevailed 26-24.
“Volleyball is a momentum game, and we got to respond and I am proud of them for responding,” Lauwers said.
West got out to an early lead in the third set before allowing Dimond to rally again. The teams were tied at 20-20 and 22 apiece before the Lynx went on a 3-1 run to close it out and take a 2 sets to 1 lead.
“It’s a learning experience for us.” Lauwers said. “Now I know we can come back from being one set down and even being down, we learned we can come back.”
Unlike the first three sets, the Lynx were the ones that established an early lead and led by as many as 11-5 before the Eagles went on a 9-3 run to take their first lead 14-13. Dimond went on a 4-0 run and wouldn’t trail again on their way to winning 25-21 and claiming the match.
Including regular season tournaments, the match marked the sixth meeting between the two rival programs and since the regional tournament is in a double elimination format, it may not be the last. Dimond will play the winner of the match between West and South for the region title on Saturday.
“It doesn’t matter what jersey color, we just focus on ourselves,” Lauwers said. “We know that everybody is going to play their best match against us. We know we have to play well. It doesn’t matter who it is, we have to play well to win.”