Photo by Jeff Yoder
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
NORTH LIBERTY – Leading up to the inaugural season for the Liberty High volleyball program LeeAnn Potter had a number in her head.
It wasn’t a lofty digit of desired kills that Potter was thinking about instead it was a win total.
Potter and her Liberty High teammates were aiming for 10 wins in the first varsity season in school history.
Thanks in part to some huge personal numbers from Potter the Lightning reached and then eclipsed that number last week.
Potter had 64 kills and 54 digs in five matches as Liberty High went 4-1 on its way to a runner-up finish at the Davis County Invitational.
The four wins pushed Liberty to 13-18 on the season, three more wins than the goal set by Potter before the season.
“Our main goal was to get to at least double digit wins and we are at 13 right now,” Potter said. “We are playing our hearts out and I feel like we have progressed a lot.”
Potter has played a central role in helping the Lightning exceed expectations.
In her first season of varsity action, the 5-foot-9 sophomore has a team-high 265 kills, averaging 3.4 per set.
Potter also leads Liberty High with 304 digs and has 23 ace serves.
“She’s our best all-around player,” Liberty coach Randy Dolson said. “She has the best ball control and the most experience as far as playing at a high level. She played on the undefeated West High sophomore team and she plays good club so she has good experience.”
Potter was at her best last Saturday at the Davis County tournament, averaging 5.8 kills and 4.9 digs per set in the runner-up finish for the Lightning.
The 64 kills for Potter included a career-high 22 kills in a 24-26, 25-18, 15-8 win over Lynnville-Sully in the semifinals of the championship bracket.
Potter had a double-double with 14 digs to help Liberty reach a tournament title for the first time in program history.
“That was very exciting,” Potter said. “We were in the championship and we didn’t really know how far we would get but it was exciting to get to a championship for the first time.”
Potter followed up her monster effort in the semifinals with a 11-kill, 17-dig effort in a title game loss to Class 1A fifth-ranked New London.
“We lost to a good program, they’ve been good for a long time, they are a smaller school but they play tough,” Dolson said. “It was exciting, I don’t know what the tournament champion got but if it’s a plaque or trophy we were saying we could be the first team to put something in our trophy case.”
Potter has continued to get better over the course of the season and has logged double digit kills in six of the last seven matches.
She had 20 kills in a five-set upset of Fort Madison last month and 11 kills and 10 digs in a three-set loss to Class 3A No. 4 Mount Vernon.
“I think I’ve improved a lot,” Potter said. “The coaches said I’ve been hitting the floor a lot more and playing better. It’s made better playing against older more skilled players on a lot of the tough teams we’ve faced.”