HOWARD LAKE – Laney Lobertmann picked up her 1,000th career set assist as the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted volleyball team dominated from start to finish in their 3-0 (25-14, 25-7, 25-6) sweep over Blake in the first round of the Section 5AA tournament. The Lakers came out firing out of the gate and never looked back.
“Just got to know that every game is not guaranteed,” Lakers coach Brooke Decker said about coming out strong from the beginning. “We just got to make sure how we are playing tonight, translates to how we are going to play Friday and beyond that. We got to make sure the girls know that they can take it to the next level.”
The Lakers wasted no time in getting going early. After taking a 7-1 lead to start the set, the Lakers finished on an 18-13 run to take a 1-0 lead after one set. Set two was more of the same as the Lakers had a balanced attack offensively to help them get ahead early and often.
Four players had four or more kills in the sweep for the Lakers. Junior Camden Schank led the way for the Lakers with 10 kills, while Isabelle Roufs added seven kills. Lilly Deboer added six kills, while senior Ivy Fesenmaier chipped in with four kills. Macee Streich continued her solid defense at libero collecting four digs, and Lobertmann finished with 16 set assists, while also reaching her 1,000th career assist.
“It really spreads it out,” Decker said about having a balanced attack and getting contributions from a bunch of girls. “If they’re just stacked on Camden or Isabelle, we have all our other hitters who can put it down. We don’t always have to rely on Camden to be that go-to player, and it takes a little pressure of her, and pressure off Lanney too.”
Two key additions to the Lakers during the second half of the season have been Alexa Schuman and Deboer, who both joined the varsity team later on in the season and have made an impact immediately. Schuman collected seven aces in the sweep over Blake, also gives the Lakers another tall presence at the net offensively and defensively.
“Alex played very well on JV,” Decker said. “We needed someone to come up and put the ball away and be that extra hitter, and she stepped up.”
Deboer has been a kill machine since returning to Lakers after being medically cleared. Deboer seems to have a knack for getting the Lakers a point in a big situation, and has really give the Lakers a boost in the second half of the season.
“She actually came back halfway through the year, and then finally got the ok to play,” Decker said. “It was a great addition, because she’s doing great things for us.”
With the win the Lakers will see a familiar face in the quarterfinals of the Section 5AA tournament. The fourth-seeded Lakers will host the No. 5 seed Watertown-Mayer Royals, who were winners over Brooklyn Center in their opening game of the tournament. The Lakers and Royals met once during the regular season back at the Dassel-Cokato tournament, and it was the Royals who came away with a 2-1 win. That loss was the one that sparked the six-match winning streak for the Lakers to close out the month of September. Decker, and the Lakers, know that they are a different team now then they were when they faced the Royals a month ago.
“We definitely weren’t the team that we are today,” Decker said about the previous matchup. “I think our blocking is going to be much better, and our momentum, and our speed of how we play. I think if we keep it fast and our pace, we should be just fine.”