Cavs earn conference crown
Published 4:49 pm Saturday, November 7, 2015
The Lakeland High School boys’ volleyball team won the conference tournament championship on Thursday over visiting Denbigh High School, edging the Patriots 17-15 in the fifth and deciding set.
Cavaliers coach Tarijuana Napoleon was pleased with how her players started and ended the match.
“I feel like they played as a team and played well together the first two sets,” she said, but then she said she thought fatigue and complacency set in.
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After Lakeland went up 2-0, Denbigh won the next two sets.
But, Napoleon said, her team “really wanted it down deep, and they wanted to protect their house.”
She highlighted several of her players as standouts, including sophomore middle hitter Hunter Rawls, who she said had a good night hitting with 15 kills, and he also served the ball well, contributing five aces.
Junior outside hitter/defensive specialist Donnel Blount created a key highlight in the service game, too.
“He actually had the (match’s) winning point off of a serve,” Napoleon said.
Junior setter Kyle Stuart was strong as a server, with six aces to go with 25 assists and two kills, and Napoleon also praised the contribution of sophomore opposite hitter Josh Bennett, who had 10 kills, six aces and two blocks.
Denbigh and Heritage high schools were added into the conference during the course of the regular season.
In her first year as Cavaliers coach, Napoleon was excited to see them work their way to a conference tournament championship.
“I can’t even explain what it means to me,” she said. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment.”
She noted winning the conference tournament title had been a goal they had set from the beginning of the season.
Lakeland finished the regular season with a 6-2 record in the conference, and Thursday’s victory improved the Cavaliers’ overall record to 9-11.
The Cavs host Churchland High School on Tuesday in the first round of the regional tournament.