No. 4-seeded Lyman makes statePRESHO — On the surface, the Lyman volleyball team looks like any other, but its journey to the state tourney has been anything but conventional.
By: Aaron Saunders, The Daily Republic
PRESHO — On the surface, the Lyman volleyball team looks like any other, but its journey to the state tourney has been anything but conventional.
As the No. 4 seed in the District 13B tournament, the Raiders had to battle No. 1-seeded White River and No. 2-seeded Jones County, and they came out on top.
However, what’s even more impressive is that the Raiders have accomplished this great feat with zero seniors.
“I don’t think it matters how young or old a girl is; if they have the willingness to succeed, they will,” said Lyman co-head coach Jill Whalen. “We lost a lot of seniors from our team last year, so we have a young a team. We have a lot of juniors and we asked them to step up and fill those spots, and they have.”
Not only does the team have no seniors, but they also have four eighth-graders, who get a wealth of playing time.
“It was kind of a rebuilding year for us,” Whalen said. “Then we added our eighth-graders in the middle of the year, and that has been key because we were able to put everyone in positions and get them comfortable.”
The young team has energized the Lyman community and has given new life to a program that has not been to the state tournament since 1995.
“I probably gave a hug to everyone in Lyman County last night,” Whalen said. “They love the girls and they love sports, so it has been very exciting for everybody in Lyman County. We have a great fan base from our high school kids to the community.”
While Lyman has achieved its goal of reaching the state tournament this season, Whalen, who is co-head coach with Renee Thomas, is confident that her team will be as consistent as they were during the regular season.
“Ultimately, our goal was to make it to the state tournament, and we have done that,” Whalen said. “We are going to go and compete, and we are going to be the same team that we have been all season.”
Lyman advanced to the Class B state tournament Tuesday night after defeating Wall in four sets. Set scores were 25-21, 25-21, 22-25, 25-15.
The Raider offense was led by junior Anna Flitner, who recorded 23 digs, 17 kills, four blocks and two aces. Eighth-grader Sara Herman also recorded 27 digs in the win.