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Changes don’t stop Vikings in win

LEAVITTSBURG — Changing things can sometimes provide interesting results.

LaBrae coach Courtney Kish decided to change up where some of her players normally play to see what the end result would be.

Nothing crazy ensued, just what’s been the norm for the Vikings volleyball team as they completed a three-set sweep (25-14, 25-11, 25-15) of the East Golden Bears Wednesday night.

“I put some girls in different positions tonight to see how things went,” Kish said. “It gave them different opportunities. I’m proud of my girls for being versatile and playing positions they’re not used to.”

The usual suspects still led the way as Tiana Drake finished with 15 kills along with 10 aces. Ashley Monroe had 24 assists along with five aces.

East struggled with some slow starts falling behind as much as 13 at one point and had to constantly climb uphill to try and get back into it.

“We always start off so sluggish,” East coach LaWanna Sims said. “We work so hard to come back. I’m trying to get them out of that. We need to keep fighting. We mess up and blame ourselves.”

The Golden Bears (2-6) were without the services of a pair of starters and are working with a young team featuring just three seniors and a steady dose of underclassman.

The Vikings improved to 10-3.

“I think I have a great group of girls,” Kish said. “We tried to focus a lot in August on team chemistry and bonding. I think that does play out. I think a lot of them do choose to hang out and do things outside of volleyball.

“It does benefit them when they are on the court because it allows them to know when someone is frustrated and help that person shake it off.

That calm demeanor was evident even with players in different positions. Jenna Reppart didn’t play due to an injury from Monday. Kish wanted her to rest so she was able to move Summer Pumphrey around and see how she, along with her teammates, would respond.

“She’s not a player that always stands out the most, but she’s the most consistent,” Dish said. “She did all those little things the right way. She’s one of those players that isn’t getting the kills but is doing the background work.”

The background work has been evident as the Vikings have been a strong cohesive unit no matter their position on the floor.

“I think it was good to see that versatility of the girls on the court,” Kish said. “We want to make teams earn points when we play. By making them earn points, we wanted to minimize our errors.”

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