COEUR d'ALENE - Kylie Curtis' future in volleyball may very well be as a setter.
But in her present, as a senior at Lake City High, she was needed more Thursday night for her passing and defense.
Curtis finished with a team-high 13 digs - and of course, her 21 kills didn't hurt either - as Lake City pounded 5A Inland Empire League-leading Lewiston 25-12, 25-20, 26-24 to deny the visiting Bengals the league title, and perhaps give the Timberwolves a chance to earn the top seed to the Region 1 tournament via tiebreaker.
"We kind of struggle on passing and defense, and they think I can bring a lot to (the defense)," said Curtis, who has verbally committed to play at Eastern Washington next season. "Obviously it's a sacrifice for me, but it's best for the team. We have a pretty strong offense, so any one of us can get it done."
Curtis normally splits time between setter and outside hitter for Lake City (12-2, 3-1 5A IEL), and at least once set the entire game. This is the first time she didn't set at all in a match, and the lineup switch kept her busy on defense - plus she had many swings on the outside, as well as quite a few from the back row. She had seven kills in each game.
“We just need her in our serve-receive, and it helped our passing out,” Lake City coach Bret Taylor said. “It changed our defense to where she’s playing in a spot where she can touch the ball more, and Kylie’s a great player — she needs to touch the ball more. And, it helps our attack.”
On this night, Brittany Gay and Kaity Widmyer handled the setting with 18 and 16 assists, respectively. Each also had seven digs. Haile Watson, moved from middle blocker to outside hitter, added six kills, and Madi Farrell had five kills, four blocks and two aces, including an ace on match point.
Lewiston (17-2, 4-1), which had won at Coeur d’Alene and Post Falls already in league play, beat Lake City in four games two weeks ago in Lewiston, but the Timberwolves smothered the Bengals from the start in the rematch.
Farrell opened the match with back-to-back blocks, and Lake City burst out to leads of 7-0, 19-4 and 23-7 as Lewiston looked little like the team which had lost just once — to eventual champion Colville, at the Lakeland Invitational — prior to Thursday.
“Our middles set up our outsides,” Taylor said of Farrell. “She was there when we needed her, especially in crunch time.”
The Bengals, who have no seniors on the roster, played better in the second and third games, but Farrell and Watson made the key plays at the end of the each game.
“You’ve got to show up to play against a team like Lake City, and we just didn’t show up,” Lewiston coach Kelly Harwick said. “No excuses; we just didn’t play. They (the Timberwolves) played well, they had a good match. But honestly, I’d rather just focus on the fact we really didn’t give them a match.”
Brett Hastings, a sophomore middle blocker, and Emilee Schlader, a sophomore outside hitter, had seven kills each for Lewiston. Sophomore setter Makayla Wilson had 15 assists, sophomore Caitlin Teichmer 10 digs.
Lewiston wraps up league play next Tuesday at home vs. Post Falls.
Lake City, which travels to Kalispell, Mont., on Saturday to play Glacier High, has league matches at Post Falls (next Thursday) and Coeur d’Alene (Oct. 9) remaining.