Right on cue, the five Lansdowne seniors stole the spotlight on senior night for the Lansdowne High volleyball team, as they left the home court for the final time in the regular season after a 25-11, 10-25, 25-22, 25-16 triumph over Woodlawn.
Seniors Kayla Welsh, Toni Turner and Brianna Dietz led the Vikings with five aces each, while senior Darienne Happel had a team-high eight kills, along with three aces, and senior Linsey Wainio added three kills and a pair of aces as the Vikings (4-10) won their fourth straight match.
The strong serving was clearly evident early when the Vikings had nine aces, including three from Turner and two each from Welsh, Dietz and junior Jamilee White, in the first set.
Happel and middle hitter Doyin Idowu led the way with three kills each in the opening set, which the Vikings won handily.
Woodlawn (0-10) got Lansdowne off track in the second set with strong serving from Dorshera Queen (3 aces), Kindell Brooks and Lauren Byrd (2 aces each).
They also kept the Viking defense off balance with hits off the first pass.
“We are not used to them hitting the second ball over,” Happel said. “We are used to bump, set, spike."
The Warriors strong serving continued in the third set when Kindell Brooks started with five consecutive aces and they took a 6-0 lead.
The Vikings chiseled into the lead with a key point coming off a winning kill after a diving dig by Dietz landed in the Warriors court and made it 9-7.
With White on the service line, the Vikings scored two straight points and tied it 9-9 on Idowu’s block.
The teams were still tied at 11-11 until a missed served by Woodlawn was followed by a pair of deep aces by Turner.
Woodlawn finished with seven aces in the third set, but they also missed four serves while they were nursing the lead.
The Warriors did cut a 21-16 deficit to one point when Dyamond Brooks (team-high 10 kills) served four straight points, including a pair of aces.
A Warrior error and kill from Idowu made it 23-20, but Kindell Brooks answered with her third kill of the night, making it 23-21.
An ace by Byrd cut it to 23-22, but a hitting error led to a Vikings point and Warrior time out.
Fittingly, Dietz ended the set with a widow-making ace between a pair of Warriors.
It was the sixth ace of the third set and kept the Warrior offense from getting untracked.
“When we have a good strong serve against some of these teams, we do much better and we don’t worry so much about that second ball coming back because they are not returning it,” Lansdowne coach Carla Privateer said.
The Vikings added six more aces and Happel had three kills in the final set, which ended with a back row spike by senior libero Turner for her first kill of the night.
Unless the Vikings get a home regional playoff match, it will be the last time the seniors play on the home court and they have cherished their four years together.
“I feel like all the seniors have a special connection,” Happel said.