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Grant volleyball leads the PIL at the midpoint of league play thanks to a deep roster.

PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Grant's Leilani Williams, left, and Maci Dahl, go up for a block against Roosevelt on Sept. 22 at Roosevelt High School.Life as a setter is a little easier for Grant High School volleyball.

That's because the Generals have a stable of players who can rise up and spike it hard to the ground.

Proof of their strong arms was on display Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Roosevelt when Grant picked up a PIL sweep 25-7, 25-13, 25-19.

"I think our hitter dynamic is really good. We're running plays we've never run before since I've been on the team," Grant senior libero Libby Robbins said. "I think our hitters are just great at finding the court and being able to adjust to any set that they get.

"It's just been power front row this season, especially with the blocking."

Of course, Robbins is being modest as the back row also is more than holding its own.

That includes the Generals setter, a freshman, in Maggie McCarthy who has blended in well with her squad this year, a theme that fits the whole Generals squad.

The front row saw all kinds of players get in on the kills including Grace Kilgore, Leihana Lindsey, Rachel Peterson, Sydney Penney, Lydia Steward, M'Ryah Kelley, Cecily Wagstaff and Leilani Williams. Even defensive specialist Eilse Coffey had a kill.

"It's wonderful how well we just connected," said Dominique West, Grant senior middle blocker. "A whole new group of girls is always difficult trying to adjust with new teammates and just getting used to playing with each other. But the way we've connected so far is amazing."

Speaking of connecting well, senior OH Maci Dahl, who's also listed as a defensive specialist, showed how deep the Generals attack can go.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Grant's Grace Kilgore, middle, goes for a spike against Roosevelt on Sept. 22 at Roosevelt High School.

Against Roosevelt, Dahl put up four kills and five aces in the dominating 25-7 set win despite standing at no taller than 5-foot-6.

Dahl, who has started on varsity since she was a freshman, has come into her own as a hitter and leaves her coach, Erin Cole, with no doubt that she can power through any big block.

"She's understood her height a lot more than she has in the last two years," Cole said. "She's one of our leaders in kills. Sometimes I'm not sure how she's going to do against some of those big, right-side middles, but she continues to play really well and be really huge for us."

Grant will need every inch of Dahl and the rest of its players with the PIL race featuring four clubs vying for the crown.

As of play after Friday, Sept. 24, Grant sits in first at 7-1 in league,11-3 overall, after sweeping Lincoln on Thursday. Tied at 7-1 is Wells, but the Guardians' one loss was a three-set fall to Grant.

Right behind Wells and Grant for the top spot is Cleveland and Lincoln, who both sit at 6-2 in league with the second round of PIL matchups going on this week.

The Generals survived round one of the PIL, but the girls know round two will require even more.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Grant's Leilani Williams, right, blocks Roosevelt's Isabel Melean-Williams' hit attempt Sept. 22 at Roosevelt High School.

But with plenty of arms to swing, Grant feels the difference will be the connection the team has made.

"I think as long as we really communicate and reach for the goals we've established," West said, describing how Grant can come up with a league title. "Staying positive and communicating throughout this season, I think we'll do amazing."

Austin White
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