Grizzlies VB sweeps Dodge City

Lionel Tipton
Butler freshman setter Lara Sosa (9) dives after a ball in the sweep against Dodge City on Thursday, March 11 inside the Power Plant in El Dorado, Kansas.

EL DORADO—In their first match Feb. 26, Dodge City pushed Butler to five sets before the visiting Grizzlies prevailed.

In the rematch Thursday night at Butler, the Grizzlies were determined not to work that hard – especially with spring break coming up next week.

Butler got a full team effort, breezed in the second set but managed to win the first and third ones for a three-game sweep, 25-23, 25-16, 25-20.

There won’t be much time to savor that victory, as the Grizzlies (12-7, 7-5) turn around and play host to Garden City on Friday night. The Broncbusters (9-10, 5-4) swept Independence at home on Thursday night. 

Grizzlies coach Lisa Lechtenberg said the rapid-fire scheduling is tied to several games that had to be rescheduled because of COVID-19 and the recent snowstorm. 

“Everything kind of got packed into these last two weeks,” she said. “We always tell the girls it’s a lot more fun to play and compete than to have practice.”

Playing so many games in a row makes it a challenge to keep the team’s legs fresh for matches on consecutive nights, she said. 

“We’ve had five matches in the last eight days, and we’ve got another one (Friday),” Lechtenberg said. “We were pretty excited to get to this part of our conference play, because we were going to be home a lot. Out of the last six matches, we’ve had five of them at home; so then we have one at home (Friday), then go on the road Monday.”

Lechtenberg said her team considers it a treat to have multiple home matches, especially when the Grizzlies win those.

“This is where we practice every day, moms and dads get to come, and so it’s always nice to get a good win at home,” Lechtenberg said.

But it’s also a great feeling to go on the road and win, she said.

“I think it’s personally even better get a win on the road,” Lechtenberg said. “It was good to sweep them (Dodge City) this conference season, and we’ll see how it plays out at the end.”

With a 24-hour turnaround for Friday’s game, the Grizzlies might be having flashbacks to a normal state tournament schedule in high school.

“A lot of these girls, they play club volleyball, and on any given day in a club tournament, you could play five matches,” Lechtenberg said. “So, when we do have time, we do our strength and conditioning so we keep our legs as fresh as we can.” 

Freshman Carly Clennan of El Dorado continued her hot play, racking up kills against Dodge (5-12, 4-8) as she did Monday night in a four-set victory over Colby. She put together some consecutively during the second set that helped Butler turn a 10-9 deficit into a 12-10 lead. 

“Volleyball is such a game of what comes before you, so the passes were on, the sets were on … and it’s such a domino effect, which is really nice when our passing and setting are on,” she said. 

Going five sets again was something the team didn’t want to do, the 6-foot Clennan said. 

“Coming into this, we had a lot of confidence in what we needed to do, since we have three games this week and this is our ‘middle’ game,” she said. “We knew this was going to have an effect on what happens (Friday) and what was going to carry on to the end of the week.”

Lechtenberg said she has seen some real growth of late in Clennan’s performance.

“Her last 3-4 matches, she has really come about,” Lechtenberg said. “She does a good job in the middle of getting off and getting up in transition, and that’s really hard to defend. She jumps well, she swings hard, and she knows how to work her angles. (Thursday night), we knew Dodge would try to block us hard in the middle, so we told her to get up every single time she could.”

For her to key the run in the second set was big, Lechtenberg said. 

“Volleyball is such a game of ups and downs; who’s making the errors and who’s keeping the ball in play, and we made our share of errors, but we did some good things as well,” Lechtenberg said. 

After back-to-back kills by both Caitlyn Rexroat and Jaryn Benning, the lead went to 17-13, and the Grizzlies closed it out from there.