Snowflake volleyball

Macee LeSueur swings for a kill from the right side of the court in Snowflake’s match against Thatcher on Sept. 21.

SNOWFLAKE — Fresh off a tournament championship win, the Snowflake Lobos walked into their Sept. 21 match ready to play.

They had already beaten the Thatcher Eagles in the tournament only three days before.

But Thatcher had a secret weapon it hoped to use to surprise and beat the Lobos. The Eagles’ star player, Peyton Devlin, started in the game after not being able to play in the tournament.

The pregame started with a memorial and ceremony to remember coach Natalie Shumway, who died in a car wreck last year. The community gifted her family a small plaque to show their love for her.

The Lobos were not impressive at the net to start the game. It was a story of placement versus power in the first set. Snowflake attempted to crush every volleyball that came its way while Thatcher fought back by exploiting holes in the defense.

The score shifted in small increments without either team opening a lead larger than four points.

During this period of difficulty, the Snowflake team looked to its star player, Macee LeSueur. She was everywhere, attacking not only from the front row but receiving sets while playing in the back row as well.

Braxton Jones, Kimberlee Eich and Rylee Wengert displayed dedication to the team as they hit the court multiple times to save a spike that made it past the blockers. They all stepped up their defensive aggression in response to the Eagles’ crafty attacks.

There are moments in close games when time seems to stand still and a single play determines who wins and who loses. With the score tied at 24, both teams seemed to sense that such a movement was upon them.

The Eagles executed a beautiful series, and hitter Devlin found an opening between the blockers and smashed down a hit. Wengert, the Lobos’ libero, refused to let the ball touch the floor.

The defensive specialist dove to the court, barely saving the point. Then a perfect set to LeSueur saw Snowflake score and left the Eagles deflated.

Kadee Penrod then served up an ace to polish off the first set at 26-24 for the Lobos. Penrod had some outstanding serves, earning four aces on the night but none more critical than the final point of the first match.

In the second set, Snowflake came out of the gate much stronger. Seniors Lily Lundberg and LeSueur kept the energy high and pulled their team ahead by five. Wengert continued her strong performance, astounding the crowd with saves that bordered on miraculous.

Thatcher began to overplay the block on outside hitters LeSueur and Addy Fisher in the second set. Jones, the setter, showed high volleyball IQ as she noticed this and began setting middle blockers Macey Gardener and Lundberg. The middles took advantage of the sets and received multiple kills.

The second set ended with the Lobos winning 25-17.

In the final set, the Lobos found little resistance. Penrod continued firing off great serves. LeSueur attacked the net powerfully, and Gardener scored with some quick hits. The final score ended 25-15. Snowflake once again won without losing a single set.

To illustrate how impressive LeSueur was in this game, here is a ridiculous stat. Out of the 76 points Snowflake scored, 21 of those were scored off of LeSueur’s hits. Counting her serves, she literally scored more than 33% of her team’s points.

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