PREP VOLLEYBALL: HLWW picks up win in five-set thriller

HOWARD LAKE – Once again the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted volleyball team found themselves in a five-set match. This time, the end result was a different story for the Lakers.

After losing their first four five-set matches, HLWW finally got over the hump with an exciting 3-2 (20-25, 25-20, 25-13, 23-25, 15-8) win over Dassel-Cokato Tuesday night.

“The win was huge, not only for our section or conference record, but for our mentality and confidence going forward,” Lakers coach Brooke Orazem said. “The girls needed that more than anything and it couldn’t have come at a better time with playoffs right around the corner.”

The Lakers fell behind 1-0 with a tough loss in set one but bounced back in a big way. A nice win in set two followed by a dominant win in set three put HLWW up 2-1 over the Chargers.

D-C wouldn’t go away as they stayed alive with a 25-23 win in set four, setting up a battle with the Lakers in set five.

This time, HLWW broke through. A 15-8 win in the fifth set got the Lakers over the hump as they picked up their first five-set win of the season.

“We still need to work on being consistent and not letting up when we start at a game or were ahead by five, but I think that all comes back to our mentality and drive to win,” Orazem said. “I always tell the girls our time will come and if we build off the feeling and energy we had tonight, we’re going to have a fun playoff run.”

With the win, HLWW improved to 12-8 on the season. Of those eight losses, four of them came in five sets. Being so close to a win yet not finishing can be frustrating, but HLWW has not let that bother them all season long.

“We have a ton of talent on the court and we have all played together for years,” Gabby Teorey said. “Tonight, we didn’t sweat the small stuff. One point doesn’t cost you the whole game.”

With just two games left in the regular season, Orazem will be looking for her team to continue to play well in hopes of making a deep postseason run.

“In the past three games, we have only missed four serves and our blocking continues to get better and better every game,” Orazem said. “Those are a couple of things we need to keep capitalizing on.”

Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter – @Kovar_HJSports

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