Championship Volleyball

Regent Prep’s Ella Drake hits through the blocks of Lincoln Christian’s Jordan Riley (left) and Bayleigh Cox in the Class 4A final Saturday at Shawnee High School. Doug Hoke/The Oklahoman

Lincoln Christian moved up a class after winning the Class 3A state volleyball title last season. No problem, said the Bulldogs, who claimed the 4A championship this year.

Ranked third in 4A, Lincoln Christian started strong Saturday night at Shawnee High School but had to fight to the end for a five-set victory over No. 1 Regent Prep, winning 25-21, 25-23, 14-25, 22-25, 15-5.

The Bulldogs wrapped up a 27-11 season in style.

The long night culminated in Lincoln Christian celebrating in the middle of the court.

“Even moving up a class sweetens the deal,” Lincoln Christian coach Deidra Dunn Rader said. “Just had a mental edge of being there before.

“We knew there was no way Regent wasn’t going to give an amazing fight,” Rader added. “It’s like we knew it was going to five (sets) against a team we’ve battled with all season.”

The two teams had split four matches this season, and it was Lincoln Christian that ultimately claimed the one that resulted in the Bulldogs being the state’s top team.

“At our tournament, we made a plan not to meet again until the state championship,” Rader said. “I was able to give (Regent Prep coach Mike Christie) a fist bump after they held up their end of the deal in the semifinals. Then we went out and held up our end.”