The season is young, but the Lakeland volleyball team got plenty of experience and games in when they went to the Menomonie Sprawl Aug. 30 and 21.
The Thunderbirds played seven teams total over two days. The Thunderbirds were unable to find victory in those seven matches and went 0-7. Despite the results, coach Carley Punzel said there were a lot of positives to come from the matches.
“Overall the experience was the best we have had in the last four years,” coach Carley Punzel said. “Some of our scores do not show it, but we had a lot of great things happen.”
Lakeland suffered straight-set losses in best of three matches to North Crawford (25-18, 25-22), Wausau Newman (25-17, 25-17), St. Croix Falls (25-11, 25-17) and River Valley (25-7, 25-17).
The matches were more competitive on the second day of the tournament. Lakeland pushed both Oshkosh Lourdes and Clayton to three sets, before coming up short (26-28, 25-18, 15-7 vs. Lourdes; 26-28, 25-16, 15-12 vs. Clayton) before falling to Prairie Frams in two games (25-17, 25-10).
Camille Quade led the team with 23 kills, followed by Lauryn Cameron with 13 and Ashley Marquardt with nine.
“We are running plays, we are running tempo balls, the bench is a great support system and we are hitting sets that we have not been able to this early in the season,” Punzel said.
Quade led the team with 22 digs followed by McKenna Gilbertson with 16.
“The girls are starting to buy into what us coaches are telling them to do and players are starting to learn to hold one another accountable for their role on the court on where they need to be,” Punzel said.
Marquardt was tops on the team with five services aces. Abby Parris was second with 4. Isabel Killian led the team with five blocks. Quade had four and Cameron chipped in three more.
Marquardt also led the team in assists with 27. Megan Haggart was second with 20.
“We met a lot of goals this weekend and I know these girls were pushing one another to finish out the rest,” Punzel said. “We had some great competition this weekend and the girls did not give up on these teams,” Punzel said. “They fought hard and pushed through long rallies and dug themselves out of holes to get back into the game.”
“These girls were by each other’s side the whole weekend and it was a stress relief to see them all get along and have so much fun,” Punzel said.
There is always plenty to work on, especially with a full week of no games.
“But as always, we all have things to work on as individuals and as a team,” Punzel said. “We all talked about how lack of communication kept us from playing out most rallies we should have won and the hesitation because of it.”
Overall it was a positive experience as coaches and players continued to set the foundation for the new season.
“I am proud of what we accomplished this weekend. We are starting to figure out our rotation and what works well and what does not,” Punzel said.
Their next game comes Tuesday, Sept. 10 at Tomahawk starting at 7 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]