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This week's Peak Performer: Alexa Smith, Lewis-Palmer volleyball
Lewis-Palmer has changed the complexion of volleyball in this region and the state.
Cheyenne Mountain had gone unmatched in 4A volleyball for the past four years on a statewide level and nine years locally.
That changed when the Rangers knocked off the Indians on Tuesday to claim a league title.
So who was the difference-maker for the Rangers? Alexa Smith, a 6-foot-1 sophomore with talent beyond her years.
Smith posted 29 kills, 13 digs and .446 hitting percentage in that match, which Lewis-Palmer took in four games.
Smith ended a back-and-forth first game with three consecutive kills as the Rangers took the upper hand and didn’t let it go.
“We’ve had several very talented players graduate from Lewis-Palmer and some went on to play Division I volleyball, but Alexa is by far the most talented player I’ve ever had,” said Lewis-Palmer coach Susan Odenbaugh, who has been at the school for 24 years and served 11 as head coach.
Smith by all accounts is a quiet leader. She admits the win over Cheyenne Mountain was more crucial than just a normal match.
“Cheyenne Mountain is a very talented team and I play club ball with some of those girls, so getting that win was important,” said Smith, who is a sure-fire Division I prospect. “Some of the seniors are more vocal on the court and I look up to them a lot. This team is coming together so well.”
Her average of 5.6 kills per game is third in the state — first in 4A.
“She can play all six positions on the court and do all of them very well,” Odenbaugh said. “She’s our go-to player when we need a point and she wants the ball coming to her in tight game situations.”
The returning talent Lewis-Palmer had, coupled with the transfer of UCLA-committee Claire Felix, has Smith and her squad thinking state championship. And dethroning the Indians in the league was the first step.
“Claire puts up such a strong block and allows us to do a lot of different things at the net,” Smith said of her 6-foot-6 teammate. “We knew this was going to be a good team and we’ve always just had the mindset of believing and trusting in ourselves.”