There was a moment Thursday night when Lewis-Palmer experienced something it hadn't seen much so far this season against 4A competition.
The Rangers were tested both mentally and physically by Air Academy.
However, the No. 1 team in the state showed why it has been so dominant, defeating the Kadets on the road 25-23, 25-11, 26-28, 25-12.
"Air Academy is a great team, so to be able to beat them will make us better," said Lewis-Palmer's Alexa Smith, who led the way with 21 kills and 11 digs.
"With this new lineup I think we're still working things out and connecting with our new setters, but gradually each match we're getting better."
As if the Rangers (13-1, 3-0 4A Pikes Peak) weren't dominant enough in conference play so far this season, they got a boost recently when three transfer students were allowed to see game action for the first time.
Sisters Haley and Emily McCurley, as well as Mariah Evans, all had to sit out the first half of the season due to transfer rules. Their presence has made the Rangers even more lethal.
"Air Academy played some great defense, so we know we need to work on our hitting," said Haley McCurley, the eldest of the sisters, who had 14 digs, 12 kills and two aces. "Playing against a good defensive team makes us mix up our shots."
After squeaking out the first game with three straight points to reach 25, Lewis-Palmer rolled in the second game.
The Rangers looked to be on their way to a sweep in the third game, but Air Academy (10-3, 2-2) would fight back on a match point and end up winning the game 28-26.
Lewis-Palmer coach Susan Odenbaugh wasn't concerned with how long it took to get the victory.
She was happy her team saw some adversity and plowed right through it.
"We're in the toughest 4A league in the state and what we saw tonight was probably the best defensive effort we've seen this season," she said. "It was good to come back and play as strong as we did in the fourth. The neat thing about this year's team is that these girls are passionate and motivated and they want to always step up to a challenge and prove something."
The Kadets entered the game looking to put themselves in the conference title hunt, but were short-handed. One of Air Academy's top players, Ashley Pagan, was ruled out Thursday afternoon with a concussion.
"We usually get a lot of offense from her, so it was a little tough to overcome," Air Academy coach Shelley Small said.
"But going up against the caliber of hitters Lewis-Palmer has, I think we did some good things. This week, losing to Cheyenne Mountain in five and tonight in four, will make us better by the end of the season."