SHAWNEE – First-year coach Kaitlyn Lucy led the Shawnee Lady Wolves to a 3-0 win over Lincoln Christian High School in their season opener Tuesday at Oklahoma Baptist University. The girls won their first set 25-23 and came from behind to win the second and third 25-20 and 26-24.
“I had a little bit of nerves because this was my first-ever game as a coach, but it was in my home court as a college player, so I was really excited about that and I thought we played the best we possibly could have played and to the potential that I think we have,” Lucy said.
Jaci Johnson got things going quick for the Lady Wolves with three straight aces to move ahead 4-0 in the first set. Lincoln clawed their way back to make it a 17-15 set in favor of Shawnee, but the Lady Wolves rallied with five straight points, including three more aces from Brooklyn Fluke and capped on a kill by Ashley Kasterke to move ahead 22-15.
Tied at 23, Kasterke got a tip over the net to push things in Shawnee's favor and the girls finished off their Lincoln opponents to win the set.
Trailing 14-17 in the second set, the Shawnee girls put up eight unanswered points to take the lead and start a back-and-forth between the two squads. Maddy Hudgins got a kill to spark a 6-1 run and clsoe the set with a 25-20 win.
The Lady Wolves found themselves down again in the third set for as much as a five-point deficit but kept fighting to stay in the game. Johnson earned her sixth and final ace of the night to take a 25-24 lead and the Lady Wolves held on for the win as a kill from Lincoln's Addie Thornton went long.
Lucy was pleased with how her girls responded to being down and coming back to win the final two sets.
“We were down and that's something that we've struggled with before is being down and being able to come back and I thought they had an excellent focus and just played great,” she said.
Johnson put up six aces, five digs and 15 assists in the win. Regan Wagner had 10 assists, 13 kills, one dig and one ace, Kasterke added five kills, eight digs, three aces and two blocks. Fluke had three blocks, three aces and five kills, Katelynn Wissman had three kills and Maddy Hudgins had six kills. Libero Olivia Barlean was a key to keeping the Lady Wolves alive with 18 digs.
Lucy was impressed with what she saw from her girls in their first real game.
“I think that Olivia Barlean played excellent defense, which helped our hitters out a lot,” she said. “I also think that Raegen set really well and mixed up our hitters and Brooklyn and Ashley did a phenomenal job on the outside. Overall it was a great team effort.”
The Lady Wolves (1-0) travel to McAlester Thursday but will return home Friday at 4:30 against Choctaw.