LaFayette gets their first win in three seasons

Published 9:04 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

It’s been a long time coming, but the LaFayette volleyball program has finally gotten its first win under Head Coach Chase Lewis. 

Lewis has been with LaFayette for three years, one as an assistant coach and two as the head coach. On Thursday, Lewis secured the first win of his tenure when LaFayette beat Booker T. Washington in straight sets. 

 “They deserve it,” Lewis said. They deserve it more than any team I’ve seen here at LaFayette.” 

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The final set of the match came down to the wire. Booker T. Washington led the Bulldogs 21-24.

With Tylia Broughton up to serve, LaFayette would have to score five straight points to keep the match from going to another set. 

With Broughton serving, LaFayette went on a tear. The Bulldogs scored five straight points to win the set and the match. 

“I told myself if Broughton or [Toniya] Collier are serving, we’ll win this thing,” Lewis said. “I liked how she just stepped up. We were down 21-24. Any bad serve or any mistake would’ve cost that game. She just stepped up and smoothly took us home.” 

Broughton is brand new to the volleyball court, but her athletic ability is not new. Broughton was a mainstay on LaFayette’s track and field team last season. Throughout the game, Broughton made several big plays at the net. She had four kills in the game. 

“This is her first year,” Lewis said. “She won state in shot put last year, and now she’s giving this a try. She is a freaking athlete. This is her senior year, and I’m excited to see her just continue to grow.” 

Broughton made the plays that eventually gave LaFayette the win, but it was Toniya Collier that helped keep LaFayette in each match. 

Every time Booker T. Washington took the lead, Collier stepped up and scored. Collier also stepped up as a leader before and during the game. Collier was the main source of encouragement for every player on the floor. 

“She’s our leader,”Lewis said.  “When she comes up to serve, there’s never any worries when she’s up there. We know that she’s going to bring it.” 

Each set was competitive. LaFayette won the sets 25-19, 25-18 and 26-24. At some point in each set, Booker T. Washington led. It was never enough though as the Bulldogs refused to quit in each set. 

LaFayette had faced adversity throughout the week. Lewis could not be there this week as much as he would have liked due to his son being sick. Luckily, his assistant coaches, Hannah and Kim Slay, stepped up when needed. 

This win for LaFayette was just a matter of time. The Bulldogs have dressed out more players than they have in the past, and the team’s work ethic has never wavered.
“I teach weight room seventh period, when that bell rings all of them are waiting outside my door,” Lewis said. “They’re texting me ‘coach where are you at? We’re ready to get in the gym.’ They’re eager everyday to come to practice.” 

Lewis felt like the team’s opener against Lanett prepared them for this moment. Now, Lewis is setting his sights on bigger goals and competing in the area.
“Getting ready for area play,” Lewis said. “Lanett’s a really good team. I knew playing Lanett, even though we lost in three games, I felt like we played very well. If we play like this and keep playing hard within our area, we’ll be a top team in that area.” 

Up next for LaFayette is another home game against Reeltown on Sept. 13.