The Lamar Community College volleyball team corrected a late-season slide into a postseason turnaround to close out 2016 and set a successful tone for the offseason.
The fourth-seeded Lopes went 2-2 at the Region IX-South tournament in La Junta over the weekend to finish 17-17 overall while picking up a handful of milestones and awards along the way.
"After all we had been through, good and bad, it was remarkably fulfilling to finish the season this way," first-year head coach Dante Geoffrey said. "We took our lumps and we were better for it. The way we fought to reclaim our season is proof of that. I'm very proud of these girls for believing in themselves and taking their season farther than I think anyone expected."
After a winless conference road stretch, Lamar extended its season with a pair of tournament victories, the most of any Lopes team this decade. The Lopes won a total of just three postseason matches since the 2010 season and were 3-12 in the region tournament from 2010-2015.
Both weekend wins came against teams that bested Lamar within the previous two weeks.
The Lopes downed McCook in straight sets (25-13, 25-20, 25-16) Thursday night, 13 days after being swept in McCook.
"Getting that first win was enormously important to us," Geoffrey said. "One of our goals entering this final week was to finish with a .500 or better record, and that was only going to happen if we won at least two matches during the tournament. So we visualized our goal and prepared our minds all week, and I think it paid off."
Three Lopes tallied double-doubles in the win.
Sophomore Larissa Francisco scored a team-high 10 kills (.308 hitting percentage) and 10 digs in an inspiring all-around performance. Sophomore Mya Yordan had 20 assists to lead the LCC offense and 10 digs to finish in a tie for third on the team. She also had a pair of aces. Freshman Devine Star Hoskie added 12 assists and 12 digs.
A loss to top-seed and eventual champion Western Nebraska Friday morning sent the Lopes to the elimination bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
Once again, the Lopes rose to the occasion, this time to beat Trinidad State (25-15, 25-21, 21-25, 25-13) Friday afternoon, just six days after the host Trojans beat the Lopes in four sets.
Every Lope had a hand in the team's second region tourney win Friday afternoon.
Hoskie notched her second triple-double of the season with 14 kills, 28 assists and 16 digs.
Yordan had a career day with personal bests of 33 assists and 14 digs (the latter mark she would again break in the following match).
Hansen (.419 hitting percentage) and Francisco (.324) each had game-highs with 16 kills apiece. Hansen also had seven kills (.357 hitting percentage) against Western Nebraska.
Francisco added 20 digs against the Trojans for another double-double. The freshman duo of middles Potter (five kills) and Almaguer (three) kept the LCC attack balanced.
Bomfim led all players with 25 digs and freshman Monea Ortiz added 14 with four aces. Francisco served two aces while Hoskie and Bomfim each had one.
"I believed we were capable of that kind of performance every time we took the court this year," Geoffrey said. "It didn't always happen, of course, but watching our girls play some of their best volleyball of the season on our final day was truly amazing."
Lamar's season ended with a straight-set loss to Otero Junior College (21-25, 10-25, 21-25) Friday evening.
Francisco led the Lopes with 12 kills and nine digs in the loss to the host Rattlers.
Yordan (17 assists, 16 digs) and Hoskie (13 assists, 25 digs) each recorded double-doubles in the loss. Hoskie also scored six kills, which tied for second with Hansen. Graham had four.
Bomfim ended her Lopes career with another stellar performance. She picked up 22 digs and passed an average of 2.35 against OJC.
Ortiz scored two aces and had 18 digs.
Potter had three blocks and fellow middle Almaguer had a pair of kills.
2016 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:
- Two region tournament wins
- Seven-game win streak (Sept. 16-24)
- First ever win against Northeastern JC (Oct. 6)
- Three All-Region players (Andreia Bomfim, Larissa Francisco, Tanaia Hansen)
- Two All-Tournament selections (Devine Star Hoskie, Francisco)
- Region IX-South Libero of the Year (Bomfim)
- 4-1 record in five-set matches
- Bomfim ranked ninth nationally in digs/set (5.66)
- Team ranked ninth nationally in digs/set (19.05)
- Team ranked eighth national in aces/set (1.97)
Check back later in the week for news about the Lopes' postseason award winners!