The Lakeland volleyball team set its sights for a win when they hosted Rhinelander on Tuesday night.
The Thunderbirds won their second conference match of the season, defeating the Hodags in four sets on senior night at the Lakeland Union High School Fieldhouse. (21-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-13).
“Having a win in general is a big momentum (boost)?and I am very proud of my girls for that,” coach Carley Punzel said. “I hope they take this win, but learn from last night’s unforced errors, to kick it into high gear.”
In the first set, the lead did not get greater than four within the whole match, as both teams played it even.
Giving the Thunderbirds an early 5-4 lead, Lauryn Cameron blocked Ariel Pauer for a point.
A couple points later, Abby Parris recorded a kill after a long volley to give the Thunderbirds a 7-5 lead.
Another long volley resulted in another Lakeland point. Camille Quade stopped the Hodag run with a back row kill. The Hodags led 12-10.
Then the Thunderbirds went on a little run. They recorded three straight points on three straight kills by Quade and Megan Haggart. The score was tied 14-14 and Rhinelander called their first timeout.
But the Thunderbirds made too many errors down the stretch and lost the first set.
“As a team, before the next set we talked that we need to reset and play our game and that we cannot give them any more easy points on our side,” Punzel said.
From then on, the Thunderbirds started to play their game. Early on, Quade had tip kill, followed by an ace. Then Marquardt recorded a tip kill as well. The Hodags called a timeout and Lakeland led 6-4.
The Thunderbirds started pulling away midway through the second match. They went on a 6-0 run to expand their lead to 18-11 over the Hodags.
Within that run, Parris recored two aces to spark the Thunderbirds. The Hodags called their second timeout.
Parris finished the game with nine digs and three aces.
Cameron had a cross-court kill to put Lakeland up 23-15, before Sarah Thompson’s ace ended set two, tying the match at a set apiece.
In set three, Haggart recored two kills to give the Thunderbirds a 6-3 lead.
With Lakeland up 9-7, another long volley broke out, this time going the Hodags’ way. Rhinelander’s Kahlie Arneson finished off the point with a kill. Lakeland held a slim 9-8 lead.
The Thunderbirds went on another 4-0 run to give them a 14-9 lead. Within that run, Marquardt had both a kill and an ace.
Late in set three, the Thunderbirds played their best volleyball. They ended set three on a 5-0 run to take the win. Parris had a kill from the back row and Marquardt an ace. The Thunderbirds led 2-1.
The best volleyball was yet to come. The fourth set was all Thunderbirds.
But it wasn’t a fast start. The Hodags led 4-0, which included a kill by Pauer. Then the Thunderbirds went on their run. Lakeland recorded six straight points to take a 6-4 lead. Quade and Marquardt had kills and Parris an ace.
“With (Parris’) strong serve, she threw Rhinelander out of system, which they continued to send free balls over or tips and we were able to put some of our plays into action and were successful,” Punzel said. “The girls have been working hard this season, putting free ball plays into play.”
The Thunderbirds took advantage of Hodag errors midway through the second match. The Thunderbirds expanded their lead to 16-9.
Just like in set three, the Thunderbirds ended on a big run. A free ball by Rhinelander’s Emily Jorgensen put the score at 17-13 Lakeland’s lead. That would be the Hodags’ last point.
“Set four was by far our best set. At that point, my girls kicked it into high gear. Our offense was finally clicking and girls were contacting the ball out front and on top,” Punzel said. “Also as the night went on our serve receive was getting stronger and stronger.”
An 8-0 run ended the set and match for Lakeland. Haggart recored a kill and a tip to put the Thunderbirds up 20-13. Then, the Thunderbirds put all their seniors in for match point. Cameron finished it off with a kill and a 3-1 win.
Cameron finished the night with six kills. Quade finished the game with seven kills and eight digs. Marquardt finished with eight kills, three aces and 16 assists. Callie Ullius added in 14 assists.
Lakeland traveled to Ashland on Thursday in a match that concluded after deadline. Coverage of that game will be in the Oct. 15 edition of The Times
Then, the Thunderbirds host a conference tournament on Saturday, Oct. 12 starting at 10 a.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]