HOWARD LAKE – It wasn’t easy, but the experience and chemistry showed once again for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted volleyball team Tuesday night. In a matchup with the Rockford Rockets, the Lakers were pushed all match long as they earned a hard-fought 3-0 (26-24, 26-24, 25-19) sweep.
“I think that just shows that they are going to keep on fighting and they can do it,” Brooke Decker said about the success her team has had in close sets and matches this season. “I like the never give up mentality, because volleyball can go either way. If you’re going to show up to play, then you’re going to win. You can’t just expect to show up, especially with these teams we’ve faced already this year.”
If there’s one thing that the Lakers have struggled with this season, it’s getting off to sluggish starts. But even with some slow starts to begin sets, the Lakers have plenty of weapons who are confident to make a run.
“I think we have an older team, so we brought in a lot of confidence right away in the season,” senior Camden Schank said. “We’re old and we’ve all played with each other since we were in like eighth and seventh grade, so I think that really helps us and our team chemistry. We all get along really well and we have a lot of players we can lean on.”
Camden Schank helped lead the Lakers to their third-straight win with a 3-0 (26-24, 26-24, 25-19) sweep against Rockford Tuesday night.
Whether it’s the powerful spike from Schank, a tip from Lily Deboer, or a sneaky hit over on two from setter Lanney Loebertmann, the Lakers showcase on offense with multiple players who can hurt you. That’s something new for the Lakers this season.
“We try to use that to our advantage,” Decker said about Loebertmann’s sneaky tip game. “Especially having a 5-1 because they got to be able to respect that when she’s in the front row. A setter can definitely run the court, and being able to have her as one of our options, it just frees up the rest of our offense.”
On last year’s team, the Lakers relied heavily on the arm of Schank to provide the offense. This year, it’s been a more balanced attack, which is more than fine for Schank.
“In the past, I’ve been kind of a go-to hitter,” Schank said about having a more balanced team this season. “But now what we’ve got is, all our hitters are go-to hitters. There’s not one person we lean on in every game. There’s someone new every game and that really helps us with our confidence. I don’t mind the pressure. It makes the season a lot more fun for me just because I love celebrating my teammates. They give so much to me, and I love to give back to them. It just makes the game a lot more fun and even if I do have an off game, it does take a lot of the pressure off me because, like, if I do get frustrated with myself, there are players that are stepping up every single day and it’s always a new player.”
The Lakers were forced to rally in all three sets in their sweep after slow starts. In a close and contested set for all three sets, the Lakers biggest lead of the night was just six points, which ended up being the final score in set three. In sets one and two, the Lakers’ biggest lead was just two points.
“Every time between huddles, even if we win a set, we’re just like, what can we do better?” Schank said. “It’s always a conversation about to have more fun and talk more. We love being around each other, and I think it shows on the court. If I’m having a rough game, there’s five other players that are telling me you got this, or they’re going to be like, I’ll take the next ball. They help me out and I think that really helps us as a team.”
The Lakers improved to 7-1 on the season with the win. Although it’s a nice start, Decker and the Lakers are quite satisfied at their level of play, knowing they can be even better.
“It’s definitely something that we are going to continue to focus on. As we start winning games, I don’t want them to be contempt with just winning. I want them to content with getting to a next level. Just being able to bring our energy level, our communication, and entire level of play up every single game, that’s the kind of level I want to be at and not just be satisfied with winning games.
The Lakers are back in action Thursday night when they travel to Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa for a matchup with the Jaguars.
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