As Lewis & Clark's District 12 volleyball match against Bishop Ryan High School neared its conclusion on Thursday, Bombers coach Brooke Storro started laughing in her team's huddle.
Storro had a good reason to be jovial. Lewis & Clark (6-4-2 overall, 1-0 district) won a back-and-forth first game before taking the next two in a 28-26, 25-19, 25-18 sweep at Ryan.
The win was a complete reversal of last week's Glenburn Invite when the Lions (9-7, 0-1) handed the Bombers a 25-9, 25-16 loss.
Tim Chapman/MDN • Lewis & Clark junior outside hitter Rachel Birdsall (8) tries to get an attack past Bishop Ryan seniors Dani Will (4) and Quinn Harmon during the Bombers three-game win on Thursday night.
"Our girls came out and were ready to play," Storro said. "Ryan has some big blockers and we just prepared for that. But I really just think our consistency is what helped us. We played so much better tonight as a team."
Ryan sophomore hitters Hannah Stewart and Gabbie Bohl - despite being the two tallest girls on the floor, each at 6-foot-1 - were forced to move a lot due to quick hits from the Bombers attack, which often returned the ball in just one or two touches.
Stewart and Bohl had just five blocks between them, largely because of Lewis & Clark sophomore setter Elizabeth Nelson.
Nelson had a game-high 27 assists and four aces and was vital in setting up attack opportunities for her hitters.
"The passers got it right to me and the hitters got it down," Nelson said. "I have really good hitters that know what they're doing. They play smart with it. They go where the blockers aren't."
Ryan scored the first three points of the match. After taking serve following a Ryan error, Nelson and the Bombers didn't let up as Lewis & Clark scored nine points in a row.
Ryan then went on an 11-1 run to retake a three-point lead. The game went back and forth and each team eventually served with an opportunity to win. After junior Anika Rovig's kill gave Ryan a 26-25 lead, the Bombers scored three points in a row to take the game and seize momentum.
"That got us going," Nelson said. "And then we just kept building."
Lewis & Clark used a 7-0 run to win the second game before easily taking the third.
Ryan coach Patty Luetzen said her team wasn't mentally prepared for the match.
"We had some nice first contacts and then the second person wouldn't be a second ahead thinking," Luetzen said. "We wouldn't be reading. We were lazy in our head. We were lazy in our head because we were supposed to read."
Senior libero Whitney Lee was everywhere for Lewis & Clark, making plays on the floor and leading the Bombers with eight digs. Junior Rachel Birdsall and senior Lacey Marmon led Lewis & Clark with eight kills each.
Senior middle hitter Quinn Harmon led the Lions with 10 kills. Stewart had nine kills and 10 digs.
Ryan hosts Kenmare Tuesday at 7 p.m., while Lewis & Clark travels to Surrey on Thursday at 7 p.m.