Lynden Christian is again in its comfort zone at the Class 1A State Volleyball Tournament.
That comfort zone is the semifinals, where the Lyncs are for the fourth straight season and where they will face King’s at 1 p.m. this afternoon. A win would give the Lyncs a fourth consecutive title game berth.
Lynden Christian had to settle some service and frontline issues early against Freeman. Once that was accomplished, they broke all three games open with runs that originated with LC sitting on leads of about 11-10.
The quarterfinal win over local entry Goldendale was something of a blitz attack. The Lyncs started quickly and never slowed, vanquishing the Timberwolves, 25-10, 25-14, 25-11.
The Lyncs came to Yakima with just one senior – Avery Dykstra – and the uncertainty and inexperience showed early against Freeman.
“We were a little bit nervous at first but once we got settled in, we were okay,” Lyncs coach and Hall of Famer Kim Grycel said. “After that, we played really well up front and had seven blocks.”
Grycel also attributed some of the early struggles to a fundamentally sound opponent.
“Freeman comes from a really tough conference and knew they were really fundamentally strong,” she said. “They made us work.”
Dykstra said the versatility that comes with a squad who can all play multiple positions helps in an unfamiliar environment.
“It’s not just me. We have so many good players,” Dykstra said. “We can all attack from all over the floor.”
Behind the scenes, the bubbly Dykstra has focused her leadership emphasis on positive reinforcement.
“I just want to make sure they know how good they are,” she said. “I try to use constant reminders. Because, if you say it enough, they start believing it.”
For her part, Grycel loves the mentoring role Dykstra plays.
“Avery is awesome. She’s our only senior and she’s been here four years in a row and three years for basketball,” Grycel said. “She knows this place really well and she does a great job of calming everybody down.”