By Moses Leos III
It took roughly an hour for the state-ranked Westlake Chaparrals to roll past the Lehman Lady Lobos Tuesday at the Lobo Den.
Six kills from Emily Link and Rebecca Ross, along with 20 aces from Rory Williams, led Westlake to defeat Lehman 25-9, 25-13, 25-14.
While Westlake cruised at times, Lehman’s ability to keep batting helped the Lady Lobos keep within striking distance.
“It’s consistency and fighting on every play,” Lehman High head coach Kathryn Legh-Paige said. “We have to have fun with it. If we don’t have fun with it, we won’t see points on the board.”
Westlake captured control early and often in the first set as it powered its way 25-9.
Lehman High middle blocker Megan Dees said the team’s game plan focused on blocking, as they knew Westlake had size to go along with skill. The Lady Lobos worked to time their blocks to match Westlake’s kill attempts.
“I usually block alone, so I had to know what was going on,” Dees said. “I had all of my passers talk to me. I was able to stay confident throughout the game.”
Making adjustments to Westlake’s hitters became Lehman’s task between the first and second set, Legh-Page said. Staying on their toes, along with taking smarter shots on offense, also aided the Lobos as they tried to orchestrate a comeback.
But Westlake pushed ahead and took a 16-6 lead in the second set when Legh-Page took a timeout. Lehman responded by outscoring Westlake 7-5 to pull them closer at 21-13.
Capitalizing on Westlake errors provided momentum for the Lady Lobos to string together points in the second and third set. Cohesion on offensive, primarily between Dees, middle blocker Kaitlyn Mendoza and setter Quincy Bowman, also helped Lehman stay in system.
Legh-Page said Dees and Bowman have continued progress working together. Dees said the team worked hard to get the hits they earned.
“Westlake is a talented team, so when the passes are there, we had some good shots,” Dees said. “We had to talk to each other. Obviously we have our downs like every team. But we talk during every game and made sure we were on the same page the whole time.”
A similar trend followed in the third set, as Westlake built a 17-7 lead, only to see Lehman climb back in an attempt to close the gap.
Lehman cut the lead to 23-14 but couldn’t muster another point.
As the first round of the district slate nears its conclusion, Legh-Page said assessing opponents’ strengths and capitalizing on their weaknesses is the team’s goal.
Dees said the team was performing better than last year.
“We have more size and more connection with each other,” she said.