The Lyman Eagles volleyball team capped off a special season on Saturday; winning their first state volleyball championship in 27 years by defeating Rawlins 3-2 in the championship match. The Eagles season ended with a perfect 36-0 record, but for a majority of the match it appeared this would not be the case. Rawlins took the opening two sets in the best-of-five match and looked poised to shock Lyman and the entire 3A classification. It was going into that third set however, when head coach Brecia Hansen of the Lyman Eagles pulled her team into the huddle and kept her message simple; saying “What are we waiting for guys, we have to talk, we have to move (on the court).”
This sentiment was also kept with Senior Olivia Smith, as she shared that the players communicated after that second set “This is our last year. Our last chance to do something special, we won’t get another chance.”
The third set is when everything changed for the Lyman team, as they rushed out to take an early advantage in the set and never looked back from that point, winning 25-21. After the third set ended Rawlins looked to regain its focus from earlier in the match and made it competitive as they attempted to close out the match. The Eagles however had a different idea as they stormed out to the lead and went back and forth in the fourth set before the score was tied at 28. Lyman took the serve and immediately put the ball away in the back right corner of the court to take a one point advantage, garnering their sixth set point of the fourth set. This time around, the Eagles were able to finish it off thanks to an Olivia Smith block at the net; winning 30-28 in set four.
The first team to 15, win by 2, would be the state champions out of the 3A Classification for Wyoming and both teams played like their dreams were on the line. The Lyman Eagles and Outlaws traded points until the Outlaws squeaked out a 13-11 advantage before coach Hansen called a timeout. Whatever coach Hansen said to the Eagles worked, because Lyman quickly erased the deficit and tied the match at 13. The first set and match point came on a Lyman serve at 14-13 before Rawlins tied the match once again. Lyman, determined to finish the miraculous comeback, got their second match point after a block by McKinley Bradshaw. This time, Lyman was able to celebrate for good, as a Kylie Walker set drifted over to the right side of the net where McKailey Bradshaw swung and spiked the ball into the ground on the Outlaws side of the net, giving Lyman a 16-14 fifth-set win.
Here was the call from Sean Bennett on the final point from the championship match:
When asked how special it was to win with this group of seniors on the team, Brecia Hansen was quite clear on the feeling, “You’re not going to find a better group of kids. You can look high and low but you just aren’t going to find a better group of kids than this. It means everything to win with this group.”
The Eagles celebrated in front of a large Lyman crowd in the Casper Events Center on Saturday and returned home champions; something that will live on forever in Lyman history.
Here is the full post-match interview with Head Coach Brecia Hansen and Senior Olivia Smith
If you missed any of the action or want to relive it, listen to our audio stream here: