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Lake City captures IEL volleyball title, sweeps Coeur d’Alene

First-year Lake City volleyball coach Jenna Leggat says she’ll find something that her team can work on at practice the next three days.

Leggat will have to look long and hard after her Timberwolves captured the 5A Inland Empire League championship Tuesday, sweeping visiting Coeur d’Alene 25-22, 25-20, 25-16.

While certainly not flawless, Lake City (19-1, 6-0) outperformed the Vikings (16-9, 3-2) serving, serve receive, defense, setting and much fewer unforced errors.

Now LC is off until the regional tourney begins Saturday when fourth-seeded Post Falls visits. CdA and Lewiston square off but where that match will be won’t be decided until the outcome of a league finale Thursday between the teams at Lewiston.

A month ago, the T-Wolves had to go five sets, after winning the first two sets, before dispatching CdA.

Per usual, outside hitter Ashley Kaufman led LC with nine kills. But it was the eight recorded by Arlaina Stephenson, along with the middle tandem of Tessa Sarff and Kaitlin Hunter, that allowed the T-Wolves from avoiding long stretches of inconsistency.

“Teamwork, communication and effort, overall, was the key to winning,” Stephenson said. “Our error ratio was very low. This was a very good match, and it was probably our best.”

CdA finished with 33 unforced errors, 14 in the final set alone. LC had 18.

The Viks opened the first set like they were going to take it to their rival. CdA built a 7-2 lead.

LC took its first lead at 12-11 before having to dig out of another hole. Finally, the T-Wolves pulled even at 20-20. A Stephenson kill coupled with a nice kill by setter Klaire Mitchell off a free ball closed out the set.

In the second set, LC led by three points 14 times. The set winner came on an ace from Chloe Knudson.

The third set was never close. LC opened a 13-6 lead before CdA took a timeout. The T-Wolves extended the lead to 20-12. A kill from Mitchell and a CdA error delivered the final points.

“There were so many things to be happy about,” Leggat said. “We have a lot of excellent pieces and it’s great to put things together like we did.”

Ali Williams led CdA with 12 kills and Kelly Horning added 10.

“We started off the match executing pretty well,” CdA coach Dee Pottenger said. “Lake City finished cleaner at the end of the first set. And we never really got anything going after that.”

It was particularly frustrating for Pottenger after CdA finished fourth Saturday at the Linda Sheridan Classic.

“Way too many errors,” Pottenger said. “It certainly wasn’t the team that we think we are right now. It was an important match and the girls knew that. Maybe some overthinking took place, which affected their play.”

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