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Déjà vu, Leyton sweeps Sedgwick County with 21 ace serves

OVID, Col. - The Lady Warriors of Leyton (11-9, 3-0 D2-12) entered Tuesday evening on a four-match skid having been swept by Bridgeport, Creek Valley, Haxtun and Pine Bluffs, teams with a combined record of 50-11 this season. They headed south of the Colorado-Nebraska border to take on the Sedgwick County Lady Cougars (3-12, 0-6 2A-2) in a series dominated by the Lady Warriors.

Since 2006, Leyton had won all 11 matches versus Sedgwick County and won 26 of 32 sets overall. Last year’s match in Dalton resulted in a sweep by the Lady Warriors as they totaled 22 aces as a team, but entering Tuesday’s match, Leyton head coach Jodi Craig mentioned that serving and serve receiving were areas her squad had been struggling with recently, but worked hard on in practice leading up to their meeting with the Lady Cougars.

In the first set, both teams were evenly matched as neither were able to jump out in front by more than two points for the majority of the way through. The Lady Warriors came out with a balanced attack as six players had at least one kill in the opening set, but Sedgwick County never allowed Leyton to string together a run. Fittingly, junior Carly Fortune ended the set by recording her first ace and giving Leyton the early 1-0 lead, 25-20.

The Lady Cougars came back strong, though, going on a 6-0 run in the early stages of the second set to go ahead 7-2. But the Lady Warriors answered right back with a 5-0 run of their own as junior Mariah Draper rattled off three straight aces to tie the set at seven. Play then reverted back to the way it was in the first, back-and-forth. Leyton, however, once again grabbed late momentum ending the set on a 5-0 run to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match, 25-17.

With the lead, Leyton came out aggressive in the third and sophomore Madelyn Watchorn sent three straight ace serves over the net on the way to a 7-0 run. In total, the Lady Warriors tallied ten aces alone in the third set on their way to a 25-14 win and securing the 3-0 sweep over Sedgwick County.

The win ends the four-match losing streak for Leyton, but now puts the Lady Cougars at five straight losses. Sedgwick County was led in the match by senior Juliana Hernandez who totaled 11 kills, unofficially.

For the Lady Warriors, senior Taylor Borges once again led the way with 12 kills, while Watchorn earned player of the game finishing, unofficially, with nine kills, six aces, four assists, and a block. Draper tallied seven aces to lead the team in that category, while Leyton came one shy of matching their mark last season against Sedgwick County finishing with 21. On the defensive side, while Craig had said reception errors had been an issue during the four-match losing streak, the Lady Warriors only allowed two ace serves by the Lady Cougars.

With the loss, Sedgwick County falls to 3-13 on the season and will be back at home against Merino on Friday evening, whereas Leyton improves to 12-9 overall. They’ll return to Dalton next Tuesday to host their own triangular with district opponents, Banner County and Potter-Dix.

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