Lexington volleyball opens season with a win

Minutemaids sophomore Liah Haines sets a ball for a teammate to capitalize a kill in the Thursday, Aug. 29 game with the McCook Bison.  Haines, a setter, had a hand in nearly every play for the Minutemaids in the match.

LEXINGTON – The Lexington Minutemaids volleyball team has earned their first win of the season at their 2019 season home opener after grinding out 4 hard-fought sets with the historically formidable McCook Bison. The Minutemaids dropped the first set with the red and black, but planted their feet and effectively said ‘no more,’ taking the win in the next three sets for a 3-1 win.

Thursday was a tough day for Lexington varsity sports. The Minutemaids softball team traveled to Grand Island Northwest and fell to the lady Vikings softball team, 1-10, and Minutemen tennis put up a heck of a fight in Hastings but lost to the tigers in the end, 4-5. It was clear; Lexington varsity sports needed a win on the day.

Answering that call was the Minutemaids volleyball squad when they hosted the McCook Bison. On the volleyball court, Lexington has struggled in facing the Bison in the past and the first set looked to follow the same trend. The first set began with a tight score, McCook took a small lead, Lexington clawed back and McCook extended their lead. As the first set neared its end the Minutemaids battled back to close the gap a little, but in the end they lost, 21-25.

The second set felt like a mirror of the first with the Minutemaids holding a small lead, and then a bigger lead before the set ended with a Lexington win, 25-21. As the third set began, the 2019 Minutemaids stepped onto the court differently than they had, previously. They looked more confident than ever before, and it grew as the sets went on.

The Minutemaids won the third set, 25-22, and the fourth set, 25-23, claiming a victory and looking like they had just made a statement about their intentions this season; to be competitive.

“Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect,” said Minutemaids head coach Samantha Hammond after the win. “We didn’t know how the girls were going to come out or how they were going to play. The best part about it was that we got better as the night went on. That’s what we expect from them; to get better with every play. It feels good.”

The whole team won the game with McCook, but one player stood out as having her hand in nearly every play of the night. While sophomore setter Liah Haines may not have had the most kills on the night, fans could see her hard work pay off as a lynchpin for the Minutemaids’ success in the season opener.

“She worked really hard tonight,” Hammond said of Haines’ performance on the court. “As coaches, we expect our setter to play twice as hard as everyone else because she’s touching the ball every single time. Liah’s a workhorse. She wants to grind, get better, stay positive and help her teammates. She is one of our conductors and we need her out there all the time.”

The Bison have been a strong team in the past, having finished two of their previous three seasons with 20 wins or more compared to the Minutemaids best record in the same time frame, 12-22, for the 2018 season.

Lexington volleyball fans can catch the Minutemaids in their next game when they host the neighboring Cozad Haymakers on Tuesday, Sept. 3. The varsity game is set to start on Coach Carpenter Court at 7 p.m.

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