Chris Leverenz knows the deal with coaching a top-ranked girls volleyball program in the state.
Everyone wants a piece of you.
And Leverenz leaves it up to her Auburn Riverside High School squad to rebuke those advances.
They did Wednesday, but not before underclassman-heavy Auburn Mountainview took a set before the visiting Ravens pulled away for a 22-25, 25-18, 25-10, 25-17 victory in a matchup of the top two 3A South Puget Sound League teams.
Now with a two-match lead with three to play, the Ravens (11-0 3A SPSL) all but clinched their first league title since 2012 when they were members of the SPSL North in Class 4A.
“We talked about it at practice yesterday, ‘Everybody wants to take a game off you, and everybody wants me to call a timeout (to stop an opponents’ long string of points),’ ” Leverenz said.
“Auburn Mountainview had a lot riding on tonight, and they played with a ton of emotion. My kids needed to see that, and work through that.”
The Ravens held a 21-19 lead in the first set, only to see the Lions (9-2) reel off four consecutive points — and finally clinch it on Mercedes Wright’s kill down the left side.
So what was the Ravens’ answer? It was the precise, powerful hitting of standout outside hitter Precious Atafua, who registered nine of her match-high 22 kills in the second set to help settle her team down.
“Precious is amazing,” Auburn Riverside setter Carson Heilborn said. “The passing was great, and the hitters did so well when we started to find the spots on the court that were open. We came together in the last three sets.”
In the pivotal third set, the Ravens scored 10 consecutive points on Kiana Drumheller’s serve to grab 12-1 lead — and seize control of the match.
With just one senior, the Lions know better days are ahead — even when the performances of today are still pretty good.
“The biggest thing that is showing right now is our youth,” Lions first-year coach Telia Peterson said. “But overall, I saw a lot of excitement for this game. And I had never seen them play that well before. I am excited for what we have in the future.”