By KEVIN THOMPSON
LAKIN — Once in a while it's nice to have a break in a sports season.
That's what Lakin and Hugoton got Thursday night in a dual, which gave the Lady Broncs a break in routine as they defeated the Lady Eagles, 3-1 (21-25, 25-12, 25-20, 25-14).
But it wasn't easy at first.
Hugoton got off to a solid start, even after falling behind 3-0 on two solid kills by Lakin. The Lady Eagles scored seven straight times on Miranda Ramsey's serving.
Great digs and good defense combined with 15-of-25 points won on serve got the Eagles a 25-21 victory.
But just as the teams switched sides, so did the momentum. Lakin won game two 25-12, winning 15 points on serve while the Lady Broncs' defense held Hugoton to just 1-of-11 on serving.
Game three was a defensive battle with 33 combined sides out as Lakin pulled away late for a 25-20 win.
Game four was all Lakin. Behind solid serving, the Broncs finished the match with a 25-14 win.
The best-of-five format suited Lakin coach Steve Davidson, at least for a change of pace.
"It's different," he said. "You watch all the colleges and they do that. In a five-game match, you're going to see a lot of momentum swing. After that first game, I thought we played awfully well."
Davidson the first two points of the first game were great kills but his girls got too aggressive and too excited as Hugoton took control. The next three games, however, Lakin (15-12) won almost half its points serving, and the defense toughened up.
"We were so pumped up we couldn't pass the ball," Davidson said. "We were so tight. Then finally we relaxed and started passing the ball. I was pretty pleased with the way we played."
Davidson also said holding Hugoton to just eight points on serve in those final three games was a key.
"When you pass the ball well, it's easier on the setter and easier on the hitting," he said.
For Hugoton coach Mindy Cornelsen, this was a step forward even in defeat, evident by the first game's serving and the overall defense.
"We've been serving more consistently lately," she said. "And I thought they played consistently on defense throughout. They worked really hard."
Cornelsen said that despite the Lady Eagles getting another setter back after being down one the past few games, the Lady Eagles still struggled on offense.
Ramsey's serving in the first game amounted for 10 points, but her kills and her leadership from the back row were especially critical for the Lady Eagles, Cornelsen said.
Ramsey helped Hugoton keep in a lot of long points against Lakin.
"Hugoton was a scrappy bunch," Davidson said. "In this game, you've got to continue to play offense. If we continue to hit it to them, and they're flying all over and making plays, that's good as long as we continue playing offense."
Davidson's squad will need the aggressive play from Thursday as they finish out the regular season with a triangular on Tuesday before heading into the league tournament in Cimarron next weekend.
Confidence has keyed the turnaround for the Eagles (12-14) over last year, Cornelsen said, and that will come into play next week, as well.
They play a dual Tuesday, then travel to Goodland for the Great Western Activities Conference tournament before heading into sub-state at home.