Four straight wins at the Dodge City Invitational Sept. 16-17 gave the Lamar Community College volleyball team a winning record for the first time in the 2016 season.
The Lopes (9-7 overall) won in three sets over Independence Community College and Cedar Valley Community College, and in four sets against Trinidad State Junior College and Clarendon College.
"That was our longest shortest weekend of the season," Lopes head coach Dante Geoffrey said. "We were in Dodge for maybe 30 hours, played four matches, the last two on a short turnaround, and came home an improved and closer team."
Trinidad was the only opponent to take a lead against Lamar at the Invite, which was played at Dodge City High School. The Trojans, in the non-conference contest, took the opening set 25-15, prompting another impressive comeback from the Lopes, who took the next three sets 25-13, 25-19, 25-16.
"It's going to be nice when we get to the point where we don't need to get kicked in the teeth in order to play tough, but it's still nice to know we have that in us," Geoffrey said.
Three Lopes attackers reached double-digit kills and scored high efficiency marks, but Geoffrey said it was the team's setters who made everything possible.
Sophomore Mya Yordan had a season-high 31 assists while freshman Star Hoskie had 21.
"The assists were obviously there, and that led to that .381 hitting efficiency, but it was their poise and decision-making that really stood out," Geoffrey said. "Both Mya and Star were in control every time the ball was in their hands."
Freshman middle Taylor Almaguer had five kills (.833 hitting efficiency) and a block.
The win against Trinidad was Francisco's first game action since an injury during Lamar's opening weekend and a subsequent illness kept her out of two weeks of competition.
"For her first game back, she was fantastic," Geoffrey said. "She felt sure of herself and didn't experience any of that hesitance that sometimes comes when players return from injury. She'll keep getting better too, so we're excited to see that continuity with our lineup."
Sophomore libero Andreia Bomfim led the Lopes with 20 digs and sophomore Allie Beiriger added 15 digs and a pair of aces. Freshman Monea Ortiz had eight assists and a team-high three aces, a distinction shared with Hoskie. Freshman middle Christina Potter scored an ace and five digs.
Lamar closed the tournament with a four-set win against Clarendon Saturday afternoon.
The Lopes came out charging against Clarendon, but could not secure the sweep, winning the match 25-15, 25-13, 21-25, 25-18.
"It's a shame we were in such control for two sets before we, I feel, let up a little in that third," Geoffrey said. "Clarendon played well but I also saw us take our foot off the gas, and that's not something that's really acceptable. In one blink of an eye you can find yourself in a tight fifth set that was probably avoidable."
Hansen and Francisco had 12 kills each, while Graham added nine and Hoskie had six.
Hoskie also led the Lopes with 24 assists to go with 12 digs and five aces. Yordan had 18 assists, seven digs and two aces.
Hansen led the Lopes with three blocks.
The Lopes woke before the sun to open Saturday with a 25-15, 25-9, 25-18 win over Cedar Valley.
Lamar's backrow of Bomfim, Freyre and Ortiz created an abundance of transition opportunities with 42 combined digs, while Freyre scored five aces.
"When we serve aggressive, good things happen. We get the occasional ace, but more importantly we had our opponents out of system for much of the weekend," Geoffrey said.
Francisco had a team-high 11 kills (.409 hitting efficiency) and Hansen had six kills (.235 hitting efficiency) to give a jolt of caffeine to the Lopes offense.
Hoskie had 15 assists, five digs, four aces and three kills, and Yordan had 13 assists, five digs and an ace.
Potter had three kills, three aces and a block.
Lamar started the tournament with another sweep (25-20, 25-21, 25-20) over Independence Friday afternoon.
Hansen led the offense with nine kills on just 14 attempts. Freshmen Graham, Hoskie and Kyndra Konig added seven, five and four kills, respectively.
Hoskie also had a team-high 16 assists to go with five digs.
Ortiz had a team-high 24 digs, two kills and an ace. Freyre had 10 digs and two aces.
Hansen led the Lopes in blocks with six, followed by four from Potter.
The Lopes stay in-state this weekend with four matches at Colorado Christian University, beginning with a 3 p.m. match against Dodge City. Lamar beat Dodge City in five sets in the season's opening weekend.