Lopes split weekend at OJC Classic

Sophomore setter Emily Longnecker (right) sets freshman middle Allie White (left) during a three-set win against Frank Phillips on August 23. The Lopes went 2-2 at the OJC Classic Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.
Sophomore setter Emily Longnecker (right) sets freshman middle Allie White (left) during a three-set win against Frank Phillips on August 23. The Lopes went 2-2 at the OJC Classic Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

The Lamar Community College volleyball team rebounded from a lackluster Friday to win two Saturday matches and split their four-game weekend at the OJC Classic in La Junta.

The Lopes beat Hesston and North Platte a day after falling to Frank Phillips and Indian Hills and are now 6-3 after the season's second week. Lamar is back on the road this weekend for five matches at Colorado Northwestern Community College's tournament in Rangely, Colorado. The Lopes will take on the host Spartans twice, as well as Utah State University-Eastern, Central Wyoming and Western Wyoming.

Lamar beat Hesston in four (23-25, 25-17, 25-14, 25-20) and then North Platte in five (25-17, 21-25, 21-25, 25-19, 15-12) in a Saturday that challenged the Lopes' tenacity and spirit.

"These early-season matches are tough. Everyone is still getting up to speed, perfecting their systems, shuffling their rotations, and it's rarely pretty," LCC head coach Dante Geoffrey said. "Some of these games we have to win ugly, and as we work to iron out those kinks, we'll take the hard-fought, scrappy wins." 

Friday's opening-match loss to Frank Phillips (20-25, 25-17, 25-17, 19-25, 11-15) lacked the competitiveness and intensity that helped Lamar's victorious efforts on Saturday. The Plainsmen, who suffered a sweep at the hands of the Lopes on August 23, came out swinging and took the first set on Friday 25-20. The Lopes rebounded for two straight 25-17 victories, but were unable to finish the job in the fourth or fifth sets.

"Like week one's loss to Butler, this has to be something we learn from. If we fail to take this as a learning opportunity, then we're working and struggling in vain," Geoffrey said. "Frank Phillips is a good team. They're well-coached and we expected them to play better than in our first meeting. But after they woke us up with that first-set loss, and we were able to take a 2-1 lead, we should have had the killer instinct to finish it off."

The Lopes then lost to Indian Hills in three (19-25, 18-25, 21-25). 

"Getting swept is never good, but honestly if we played how we did against Indian Hills against Frank Phillips, we would have won that first match," Geoffrey said. "It's tough, because I know the kind of fight and heart we have in us. We just need to tap into it every match. That's the sign of a really good team. We have the talent, we have to find our consistency."

Sophomore outside hitter Anamarija Mikovic was named to the OJC Classic All-Tournament team. Mikovic totaled 60 kills, 39 digs, five aces and six blocks over four matches in La Junta.

Freshman outside Charlène Hosly added 73 kills of her own and hit .307 over the weekend. She earned 26 digs and scored 10 aces.

Sophomore setter Emily Longnecker distributed 180 assists (10.58/set) while running the Lopes offense. She also scored seven aces. 

Sophomore libero Sarah Polanco reached double-digit digs in three of Lamar's four matches for a total of 48 while leading the Lopes with 11 aces.

Freshman middle Allie White scored 18 kills, three blocks and four aces.