The Lewisville Lions used a solid team effort, great defense, and an attacking offense to defeat the Branchville Yellow Jackets 3-1 to win the 1A volleyball state championship at Chapin High School Saturday.
The Lions lost the first game, but rebounded to win the next three and win the school’s first volleyball state title.
“What a great team effort we had today,” said head coach Josh Renaud. “These girls worked so hard all year, and they improved as the year went along. They showed their resilience as a team today. I am so very proud of every one of them.”
Branchville won the opening game 25-16. Cassidy Jacobs and Lynasia Felder were the key players for the Yellow Jackets in the opening game. Lewisville led only twice in the early going, and once Branchville broke a 12-12 tie, the Yellow Jackets never trailed again.
Never miss a local story.
When Branchville took a 6-2 lead in the second game, Renaud called a timeout. When the Lions came back on to the court after that, they were a different team.
“I told them they had to make good passes, work for every shot and every point, and not to get down,” said Renaud. “They really picked it up after that.”
It took a while to erase the deficit, but when Allie Keels placed a perfect drop shot, the Lions tied it at 10-10. Amber Bass’ kill put Lewisville up 13-12, and they never trailed again.
The Yellow Jackets kept it close. Lewisville’s biggest lead was 18-14. It came on a kill by Keels.
Bass added a block and three more kills going down the stretch, but Jordan Smith and Kelsey Kinard kept Branchville close. When Kinard scored on a kill it was tied at 24-24.
The Lions scored the next two points for a 26-24 win to tie the match at one game each.
Defense saved the day
Lewisville took the early lead in game three, but the Yellow Jackets rebounded to take a 12-8 lead. The Lions came back, tied it at 12-12, and when Aly Butler scored on a kill they were in front 15-12.
The Lions’ defense was outstanding the rest of the way and Bass keyed the offense. She had five kills and a perfect drop shot for six of the Lions’ points. Lewisville closed out the game by scoring the last five while Keels was serving. That gave Lewisville a 25-16 victory and a 2-1 lead.
The Lions and Yellow Jackets battled back and forth in the early going in the fourth game. Lewisville led 5-3 when Lauren Crocker scored on a service point, but Branchville regained the advantage at 7-6 on a service point by Felder.
When Abby Funchess scored on a kill for Branchville, it led 10-6, but Abby Dixon’s kill and a perfectly placed shot by Bass made it 10-8.
The Yellow Jackets extended the lead to 14-9 on a block by Smith, but Lewisville regrouped and scored the next six points. Another kill by Bass, two blocks by Dixon, two service points by Bass, and a kill by Crocker gave Lewisville a 15-14 lead.
Crocker’s service point a little later put the Lions up 18-16, and when Dixon scored on a kill, Lewisville was ahead 21-18. Bass’ kill made it 22-18, and the closest Branchville got down the stretch was two points.
When the Yellow Jackets’ serve went long, the Lions won the fourth game 25-22, and the state title.
Lewisville finished the historic season 13-3, while Branchville was 21-11-2.