The Lakeland volleyball team has made a lot of progress, but hasn’t had much to show for it yet. They tried to change that up with a trip to Antigo on Tuesday.
The Red Robins defeated the Thunderbirds in three sets — 17-25, 18-25, 15-25 — at the LUHS?fieldhouse.
The Red Robins performed strong from start to finish. The Thunderbirds had the lead for just one point during the match.
“We got ourselves in some holes, we were down by at some points 10, 12 points and they came back,” coach Carley Punzel said. “We did a really good job of listening to coach and myself of change up the hitting, change what we’re doing, if it’s working keep doing it till it doesn’t.”
The Red Robins capitalized on Lakeland’s errors in the opening set. But there were signs of great volleyball from the Thunderbirds.
Ashley Marquardt and Megan Haggart had a good connection all night. Marquardt set up Haggart for a point to cut the deficit to 3-2 Antigo’s lead.
“With Ashley, the one thing I was really excited about and proud of her is she was seeing that there was a double block so she pushed it where they weren’t,” Punzel said. “She’s starting to realize that she’s got to see where the block is and then she can set where they’re not and that helped us out a lot.”
Marquardt finished with seven assists and Haggart finished with three kills.
Down 6-3, the Thunderbirds continued to hang around when Marquardt set up Abby Parris for a point. Three points later, Marquardt tipped one over herself on a Camille Quade dig. The score was 8-5 Antigo.
Quade finished with six digs.
After that, the Red Robins won nine of the next 11 points and led 17-7. During that stretch, Callie Ullius set up Marquardt for a point.
Trying to break the Red Robins’ momentum, Parris dug one up, Ullius set it up and Parris slammed it down that led to an Antigo error.
That play led to four straight Lakeland points. The Thunderbirds used their blocking for the next point. Quade and Isabel Killian combined for a block, then Haggart blocked one and finally Quade and Killian had another block leading to a Lakeland point.
Libero McKenna Gilbertson saved the next point. She had three straight digs during the rally and eventually, the Red Robins hit the net.
Gilbertson totaled six digs during the match.
The streak continued when Quade and Killian combined for another block. The Thunderbirds had cut the lead to 17-11.
The Red Robins responded with four of the next six points, including a kill by Antigo’s Elizabeth Rustick. Eventually, the Red Robins finished off the set and won 25-17.
The Thunderbirds did not let the lead get too big early on in the second set. Marquardt set up Haggart once again for back-to-back points and trimmed Antigo’s lead to 5-4.
“Tonight Megan was changing up the hit, whether she was hitting it out or into the net, it didn’t let her affect it,” Punzel said.
Down by four, Brooke Pagels had a dig, leading to an assist to Parris for a kill. The score was 10-7 Antigo.
Shortly after a timeout, the Thunderbirds set up a nice point starting with Pagels. Her dig led to a Ullius assist to Quade that caused an Antigo error.
Four straight Lakeland errors caused the Thunderbirds to take their second timeout. The Red Robins led 18-9. A couple points later, Ullius started a point. Her dig led to Marquardt setting it up for Killian for a point.
“We were hitting spots where their defense wasn’t, and we talked about that going into the game and they were listening,” Punzel said. “Seeing that come into play it felt really good that they were listening and it was working.”
A Lakeland error gave the Red Robins a 25-18 and 2-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds took their first lead of the match on a Parris ace to start the third set. It was the first point of the game and the Thunderbirds led 1-0.
It wouldn’t take long for Antigo to respond with three straight kills and a 3-1 lead. Then, Gilbertson started a point that led to a Ullius assist to Quade for a point.
Down 10-5, the Thunderbirds kept coming at the Red Robins. Pagels set one up for Marquardt who set it to Parris for the point.
Two points later, Sarah Thompson capitalized on an Antigo error and hit one back over the net for a Lakeland point. Thompson also added in two solo blocks.
After an ace by Haggart the Thunderbirds dropped the lead to 11-8 Antigo. That was as close as they would get as the Red Robins garnered 10 of the next 11 points.
Even though the Red Robins were taking many points and a 21-9 lead, Ullius made a couple of near saves that showed her hustle and her continued improvement as a freshman.
“(Callie) is one that will hustle no matter what,” Punzel said. “I think she’s kind of that inspiration of ‘we got to hustle, we got to put it all in,’ so I think that vibe from her is pushing all the older ones to do the same thing.”
With Antigo taking a 21-9 lead, and winning 10 of 11 points, Parris stepped up and put an end to it.
It all started with Quade and Parris combining for a block, followed by a Quade and Marquardt combined block. Parris finally finished off a back-and-forth rally with one of the biggest kills of the night.
Parris followed that up with two straight aces. The Thunderbirds were not going to go quietly and now trailed 21-13.
Parris finished the game with 10 digs, three aces and three kills.
A couple of Lakeland errors gave Antigo a 25-15 and 3-0 victory.
Their next game comes Saturday, Sept. 28 with a tournament at Phillips High School starting at 9 a.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]