When Lake-Lehman swept three sets from rival Dallas in the meeting of Wyoming Valley Conference girls volleyball rivals, it extended a winning streak for the Black Knights.
Now, Lake-Lehman coach Kevin Koziol said the team is intent on extending that run to set itself up for the postseason.
“We’re swinging for the fences,” Koziol said. “We’re going to try to get over everybody and, hopefully, get into second place.”
Lake-Lehman has its eye on one of the top two spots for the District 2 Class AA playoffs since those teams get to open the postseason on their homecourt.
The 25-28, 25-19, 25-20 win at Dallas Sept. 27 was the sixth straight for Lake-Lehman, which started the season at 1-2.
“The rivalry between Lehman and Dallas is always pretty big,” Koziol said. “My girls were pretty fired up for it and I think we all performed well.”
Kahli Kotulski had 12 kills and Brittany Acevedo scored 13 service points for Lake-Lehman in the win.
The hitting of Kotulski and Danae Sutliff has made the most of the setting by Maria Chinikaylo to lead the Black Knights during their surge to fourth place out of 18 teams in the WVC. Those were again big factors against Dallas.
“Our setter, Maria Chinikaylo, did a great job and Danae Sutliff and Kahli Kotulski, our two middle hitters, stepped up and gave us points when we really needed them,” Koziol said.
Koziol said the team works well together. Chinikaylo, in her second season as setter, is a big part of that in putting her teammates in position to finish off points as the assist leader.
Kotulski and Sutliff shared a spot in the lineup last season and now work together.
“They’re very similar in their styles, but they both have their strengths so they’re a little bit different,” Koziol said. “Danae is a little bit more of a finesse player, being able to place the ball real well.
“Kahli is really strong in serving. When she’s in a zone, her serves are really tough to return.”
Koziol is hoping for that success to continue as the team works its way through the second half of the regular season.
“They have a real never-say-die attitude,” Koziol said. “They’re going to do whatever they can to be victorious.”