NORTH SIOUX CITY – A smiling Elizabeth Lammers is out having fun on the volleyball court.
The 5-foot-11 outside hitter puts away kills with a powerful right hand, all while keeping a smiling, positive attitude on the court.
The Dakota Valley senior registered her 13th double-figure kill match of the season on Friday in a three-game sweep over Dakota XII Conference foe Vermillion. Her 18 kills brought her season total to 259 prior to Monday’s regular season finale at Tea Area.
“Elizabeth has had a fantastic season,” said first-year Dakota Valley coach Amy Wiseman. “She has a consistently positive attitude and she goes hard every single night.
“I just think she has been consistently good all season.”
Part of that consistency for the daughter of Gary and Lori Lammers is the ability to go up and get a kill when she needs to. The Sioux City Journal’s Metro Athlete of the Week matched her season-high total in kills against Vermillion and is averaging 3.7 kills per set.
Elizabeth, who ranks second on the Panthers in kills behind her twin sister Meredith (264), has also joined the 1,000 career kill and 1,000 career dig club. Something Meredith did earlier in the year.
“They are very similar, but I think the difference for me between the two has been Elizabeth’s constant positive attitude,” said Wiseman. “She works hard regardless of the situation, regardless of the lineup, she has a smile on her face.
“I always love it when I can tell when she’s going into an approach she’s just going to pound the ball. She had a different approach to her, a different kind of look about it and you know she is just going to try and pound the ball as hard as she can.”
Elizabeth and Meredith have been four-year varsity regulars and are part of eight seniors for a program that has played in the state tournament each year of their high school careers, winning a state title last fall.
“I’ve been playing with these girls all through high school and middle school,” said Elizabeth. “It’s kind of like the last rodeo. It’s really fun, it’s the last rodeo, we’re putting it all out there.”
Elizabeth has recorded over 240 kills each of her varsity seasons while also playing all rotations on the floor. She has 222 digs this season, her fourth such year over 200.
“I always try and keep a smile on my face, that might help others confidence and enjoy the game more,” she said. “I have a lot of experience so I’m confident in what I can do. If I make a mistake I try and brush it off and count on my teammates to be there for me.”
Elizabeth and Meredith form a strong 1-2 offensive punch for the Panthers, who will take a 24-3 record into the start of Class A regional play.
“Not only has (Meredith) been a teammate for all these years, but she has been my friend,” said Elizabeth. “I look to her for support in the tough matches.”
Dakota Valley has suffered two of its three losses to top-ranked Sioux Falls Christian, a Dakota XII Conference rival, while the third loss has come to Sergeant Bluff-Luton, Iowa’s fourth-ranked Class 4A team.
Elizabeth feels the Panthers learned from the latest loss to Sioux Falls Christian, a three-set battle in the championship of the Dakota XII Conference tournament.
“We can’t be timid, we have to hit at them, if we don’t hit at them, we’re giving them free balls which in turn that they will bring right back at us,” said Elizabeth. “Our defense is strong, but it’s not always going to be there.”
Elizabeth is hopeful Dakota Valley will get a third shot at Sioux Falls Christian as the two are the top two teams in the Class A power points, meaning a potential meeting wouldn’t take place until the state championship match.
Overall the future chemical engineering student at the University of Missouri has enjoyed her volleyball time as a Panther, but is also excited to just become a student next school year.
“We went to state each year, that’s a big accomplishment in itself,” she said. “In my high school career we have only beaten Sioux Falls Christian once. They are who we strive to beat, if we could get them one more time that would mean a lot.
“It’s a hard decision. I will never truly walk away from it. I think it's just time for me to open a new chapter and be a student.”
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