The Class 5-A No. 7 Abraham Lincoln volleyball team has a plethora of weapons, and they were all on display Thursday night in a convincing 25-11, 25-15, 25-12 win over crosstown foe Thomas Jefferson in the Abraham Lincoln Fieldhouse.
“We can go anywhere,” Lynx coach Katie Darrington said of her offensive weapons, “which is the game we’ve been envisioning, and that we’ve been working towards.”
Senior outside hitter Elaina Bohnet understands the importance of her team’s balance.
“I think that’s what makes our team so tough,” the Iowa Western recruit said. “You can’t expect where it’s going because we are so diverse.”
Bohnet picked up her 1,000th career kill in the 25-15 second-set win where she collected four of her match-high 12 kills.
“If I were to do it anywhere, I would definitely want it to be a home game,” she said of the milestone. “That was fun.”
Thomas Jefferson (5-5, 2-2) coach Bonnie Clinch was surprised by her team’s lackluster defensive effort.
“We struggled on defense tonight, which is not typical for us,” she said. “We know that team. We knew that they were going to swing down the line, and hit the corners, and we knew the setter was going to dump, we were prepared for this. It was just a weird, off night. We were just stuck.”
The Lynx (7-0, 2-0) jumped on the Jackets in the first set, building a 7-1 lead early. Two early Kayla Schleifman kills paced the A.L. attack as the lead swelled to 17-6 after a Julia Wagoner ace.
“That girl (Schleifman) really elevated her game,” Darrington said.
A more competitive second set was highlighted by the play of senior Lynx setter Sam Christiansen who dished out 11 set assists to six different hitters.
“There is not enough I can even say about that kid,” Darrington said. “She’s worked so hard. She studies film, she does everything she can, she learns all the tendencies of her hitters and she gives them the ball the way they need it to be successful hitters.”
Christiansen finished the match with 25 set assists, including two to junior hitter Zoe Lutz who came in off the bench to provide a spark to an already loaded offense.
“That’s what’s fun about this team. We can really put anyone in and go 15 deep,” Darrington said.
The third set was back-and-forth at the outset, but the Lynx ran away late, scoring 16 of the final 19 points turning a 9-9 tie into a 25-12 win.
“We struggled, and that’s a really good team. Give them credit. They’ve got some hitters, and their defense moves well,” Clinch said.
Jenna Midkiff had 14 set assists for the Jackets, and Ashlie Knecht led the Jackets with nine kills. The Jackets will host Sioux City Heelan next Tuesday.
The Lynx will look to continue their early season success this Saturday when they play in a tournament at Southeast Polk.
“We’re playing well, but even after seven matches, we haven’t played our best ball. That’s exactly where we want to be,” Darrington said.
The Lynx have high hopes after bringing everyone back from a 31-10 2018 campaign.
“We knew ending last year, since we had everyone returning, that this year would be that much better. So we set a couple of personal goals and team goals and we talk about it daily,” Bohnet said.
“Last year we saw bursts of that (balanced attack). Their volleyball IQ this year is so much higher,” Darrington said. “We can’t be afraid of Des Moines. We’re right there. There is nobody that has as many weapons as we do.”
AL (7-0, 2-0) 25 25 25
TJ (5-5, 0-2) 11 15 12