Most of the starters have changed, but the winning ways for Lee High’s volleyball team have remained constant.
Lee defeated Istrouma 3-0 Tuesday evening at Istrouma for its 17th consecutive win. The individual set scores were 25-8, 25-5 and 25-4 as the Patriots stayed unbeaten in District 4, Division II.
Lee (22-2, 2-0) had a 22-game regular-season winning streak last season when it advanced to the state quarterfinals. Eleven players are back from that team, but only two, Jordan Coates and Diamond Holliday were starters.
“This team is a little hungrier than last year,” Lee coach Michelle Haynes said. “They’re more focused, more of a family with team unity. That’s what we’re working towards.”
Istrouma (14-9, 1-2) is playing its first varsity season after two years of junior varsity action. The Indians struggled with their return of serve throughout the match.
“This match was different for us. Lee is Lee and they’re coached by one of the great coaches,” Istrouma coach Ebony Noah said. “We did everything we could to prepare, and I told my girls to fight to the end. They kept their energy up and I’m proud of them.”
Holliday paced the Patriots with 10 kills and two digs while Coates had 11 aces and five kills. Trenity Lundy scooped up a team-high 11 digs and Amari Spooner added five aces, three kills, four digs and an assist.
Senior setter Johnice Hubbard had 21 assists, and noted that this year’s team compares favorably to its squad from a year ago, which finished 32-5.
‘We’re doing pretty well, but I think we can do better,” Hubbard said. “We’ve got a lot to work on. We’re going to push and we’re going to fight, and we’re going to finish strong.
“We still have the good chemistry that we always had.”
The first set was tied 1-1, but that changed quickly. With Coates serving, the Patriots won the next nine points to take control.
In the second set, three kills by Holliday helped Lee win 11 of the first 12 points. The Patriots bettered that in the third set when they won 16 of the game’s initial 17 points.
Haynes liked most of what she saw from her team, but not everything.
“I didn’t like that we served a lot of balls in the net,” she said. “We had a lot missed serves, and when you get deep into the playoffs you can not make those kind of mistakes.”