LTHS ‘ Grace Turner (20) goes up to drive home one of her six kills during the Lions’ three-set win over Oak Park and River Forest on Sept. 27. (Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer)

Senior Kamryn Lee-Caracci and her Lyons Township High School girls volleyball teammates were elated yet taken aback by their large home crowd Sept. 28.

The annual Pink Out match against West Suburban Conference Silver co-leader Oak Park-River Forest attracted a full LTHS section, including the varsity football, swimming/diving and cheerleading teams.

“We had a big student section, which was bigger than we ever had,” Lee-Caracci said. “We were watching the sophomores [play] and then people started piling in. I did get a little bit nervous, but I tried to assure my team that being nervous was just a mindset.” 

After a rough second set, the Lions realized they needed to be just as vociferous. They turned talk into action for a 25-23, 20-25, 25-16 victory.

“In the second set, we lacked communication,” setter Abby Markworth said. “A good thing about our team is our chemistry and how we’re talking on the court. After we lost the second [set], we came back and [said], ‘We’re winning this.’”

LTHS (20-3, 3-0) maintained control of defending its WSC Silver championship but still must play Glenbard West (16-8, 3-0), York (16-4, 2-1) and Downers Grove North (11-14, 2-2).

Lee-Caracci (14 kills, 6 digs), Grace Brennan (13 kills, 2 aces), Markworth (30 assists, 6 digs, 7 service points, 2 aces), Grace Brennan (13 kills, 12 digs, 6 points), Grace Turner (6 kills, 3 blocks), Kiley Mahoney (12 digs, 25 serve receives, 6 points), Maggie Kachmarik (6 points), Katie Debs (4 kills) and Amelia Montgomery (3 blocks) led the victory.

In an impressive third set, the Lions had 16 kills with just one attack error and never trailed. 

OPRF (19-5, 3-1) closed to 16-14 but the Lions didn’t allow a service point the rest of the way. Kachmarik served an ace and two other points to open a 22-15 lead.

“We took control and started making adjustments on our side of the court,” LTHS coach Jill Bober said. “I think we, at times in the first and second sets, weren’t as assertive. We were hesitant, weren’t communicating much and we minimized those things in the third set.”

Lee-Caracci had six kills in the final set, attacking between the outside and middle, her usual position during the club season.

“That really helped, thanks to Abby setting me such perfect balls,” Lee-Caracci said. “[Earlier] I got blocked a couple of times. When stuff like that happens, I think being a smarter player is more important than being the strongest player.” 

Brennan remained potent on the outside with five kills, still kissing the line mostly against double blocks. Turner, a 6-2 junior, had three kills and two blocks.

“[Markworth and Lee-Caracci] are both our leaders and I really trust them. I just know when they get amped up, it amps me up,” Turner said.