Shawnee knew that Christian Heritage Academy would present a test when they visited Thursday night.
The Crusaders won a state title in 4A last year and, thanks to Gatorade Player of the Year Olivia Curtis returning for her senior year, they are 9-1 and No. 1 in 4A again this season. Curtis, committed to play at Oklahoma University, played great in the match, but the Lady Wolves competed well.
"The good thing is we can learn from this and move forward," Coach Julia Holland said. "We didn't get our blocks up enough against Curtis. We can learn from this and get our defense running."
Olivia Barlean had 12 digs and several of those were on huge shots from Curtis. Shrya Crowley and Emily Hamblin each had big blocks against the state's best player.
CHA graduated several seniors last year, but they have another strong group of upper classmen this year.
"We played well, we just had some errors that we normally don't make," Holland said.
Junior Brooklyn Fluke led the Lady Wolves with nine kills and six digs. She did a great job of going back and forth between smashing the ball and using touch to place the ball where the defense couldn't get to it.
"She (Fluke) did really well tonight," Holland said. "She was really smart at the net."
Senior standout Ashley Kasterke led Shawnee with 14 digs and added eight kills in another great match from her.
Crowley is back from her injury and timing is coming back. She is really starting to play well. She had three kills and two big blocks Thursday.
Coach Holland said after the team's first match and the matches against Bishop McGuinness, Owasso and Christian Heritage, she would have a better idea of where her team was. After that stretch where the Lady Wolves won one and lost two close matches, Holland is pleased with her team's progress.
"We are in a good place," she said. "We are in a good place to move forward. Not peaking too early. We only have one match next week so we can get some practice more next week."
Before that, the Lady Wolves will travel to Carl Albert Friday and Saturday.