Senior leadership, rising to occasion keys Lansing volleyball

Everyone else in Class 5A may like it or not, but the Lansing High volleyball team is ready for the postseason.

The Lions put a stamp on their regular season with a 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-19 sweep of the Bonner Springs Braves to move to 31-5 on the year.

Next up is Saturday’s substate in Topeka.

Rachel Fairbanks (15 kills), Lacey Angello (12 kills), Katrin Holden (six kills), McKinzie Weaver (six kills), Courtney Rexroat (40 assists) and Alex Lesniak (seven digs) led the way for Lansing.  

Seniors Tori Robinson, Paige Herrera and Lesniak were honored on the evening and have paved the way with their own brand of leadership this fall.

“They did good (as leaders) and two of them - Tori and Alex - are quiet leaders that lead by their play and example.” Lansing head coach Julie Slater said. “There’s lots of forms of leadership and there’s is just as good in a different way, even if it’s not as vocal and more laid back.”

Robinson says her younger teammates made the transition her senior year and easier one than it could have been.

“I feel like the younger girls did a really good job of coming in and doing well,” Robinson said of her role as a leader on the team. “We all get along really well and freshman Mckenzie stepped in and has done really well. We all fit real well in together.”

Holden appreciated the seniors’ leadership style.

“It is very relaxed compared to last year when we had intense seniors,” Holden said. “They worked really well and are really good leaders for the team. The individual seniors and how they vibe with the team and how they get along with the team brings just a different, (positive) atmosphere.”

Lansing won the first set after trailing by seven points early and then wrapped the victory on defensive specialist Herrera’s kill out of the front row.

Things seem to be going well after a midseason period where they struggled to find their game.

“I feel each year we have a lapse in the middle of the year and every team does that, but with us it was about us growing and going to the next level,” Robinson said.

“The only thing we need to fix is our energy level in talking, because we don’t talk a lot on the court,” Holden said. “In all, I think we are really prepared for substate and state.”

Slater wants to see her team play their ‘A’ game night in, night out and expects them to when the chips are on the line.

“I feel we have been playing well, but we have hit a bit of a lull here the last two nights out,” Slater said noting her team may be looking ahead and forward to the postseason. “Last week our first set against Basehor was the best we’ve played all season. We have to play with that intensity for the matches at state. I think they will. When this team is in that zone, they’ll be tough, tough, tough to beat. They have heart and passion and have the ability to step it up when they need to.”