CHEYENNE – The No. 2-ranked Laramie volleyball team’s practices have centered around transition and playing quickly.
The Lady Plainsmen put the fruits of their labors on display during a 25-5, 25-11, 25-13 victory over Cheyenne Central on Thursday night.
“We’ve worked hard to increase the speed and aggressiveness in our entire practices,” Laramie coach Jill Stucky said. “We played a lot of 6-on-6, so when we finally faced somebody, our transition game was there. We transitioned really well in this match. We were able to set the game from pin-to-pin and able to set our middles.
“We had a well-balanced offense. That’s really exciting. Everyone was able to swing, get kills and find ways through the block. We were playing with purpose.”
The Plainsmen (25-2 overall, 5-0 Class 4A Southeast Quadrant) led wire-to-wire in the opening game. They used runs of 5-0, 8-0 and 9-0 to put the game away.
Laramie had a six-match winning streak snapped with a 3-1 defeat at the hand of visiting Kelly Walsh on Oct. 14. It looked like a team determined to get back on the winning track, first-year Central coach Jessica Bratton-Vega said.
“They were probably in the gym fixing everything they did wrong against Kelly (Walsh),” she said. “They have great passers, and when you pass well, it’s easy to put the ball down.”
The Indians (6-21, 0-5) took a pair of two-point leads early in the second game, but Laramie pulled ahead for good with a 5-0 spurt that gave them a 7-3 lead. A 12-2 run put the game out of reach.
The Plainsmen never trailed in the final game and led by as much as 13 points. They walked out of the Central Fieldhouse pleased with the progress they made in terms of tempo.
“We’ve been pushing ourselves to play a fast game in practice so we can play a fast game when we get out on the court,” said Anna Gatlin, who finished with six kills and 5.5 blocks. “It worked. We’re getting back to playing how we want to, and we’ll keep working on that in practice.”
Sophomore Maddy Stucky dished out 17 assists to go with nine digs and eight kills. Senior Alexis Stucky dished out 16 assists and posted eight kills for Laramie, which hosts Cheyenne East at 6 tonight.
Senior Morgann Jensen chipped in with seven kills, while Noel Jensen added five. Senior libero Halley Feezer had a team-best 13 digs, while Taylor Tyser added 10.
Laramie’s multitude of offensive weapons kept Central from setting up a strong block and left it scrambling defensively.
“One of our girls said in the huddle she couldn’t read where the sets were going,” Bratton-Vega said. “Laramie has such good setters that even if they’re jumping, they can set to the left and right sides. When they do that, you have to be ready to move either way instead of standing straight up.
“Our defense has been great the past couple weeks. They made a lot of touches and got a lot of digs and kept us in points. I can’t be mad at our defense.”
Central senior libero Lydia Looby posted 13 digs. Emma Peel and Gracie Kniss tied for the team lead in kills with two. Both of Peel’s kills came on setter dumps. Junior Joslyn Siedenburg had a team-best three blocks.
The Indians play at Cheyenne South at 6 p.m. tonight.