The Lakeland Thunderbird volleyball team went on the road for its first conference game when it played Tomahawk on Tuesday night.
The Thunderbirds made runs all night, but it was Tomahawk who prevailed at the end and won in three sets, 25-12, 25-20, 25-20.
Camille Quade had a hot start as she was involved in three of Lakeland’s first four points. Ashley Marquardt set up Quade for the first point of the game. Marquardt finished with eight assists.
Quade proceeded for the next two kills and the Thunderbirds led 4-2 on the road.
“We started strong; we had a run but I think we got too comfortable into our offense,” coach Carley Punzel said.
Lauryn Cameron continued Lakeland’s hot start with two service aces that led to a 6-2 lead. Tomahawk took their first timeout.
The timeout worked and Tomahawk went on a 15-0 run.
“Tomahawk’s a great team. They have a lot of seniors and a lot of chemistry,” Punzel said. “I knew coming in that they were going to fight hard and play every point.”
Abby Parris and Isabel Killian combined for a block that gave Lakeland some momentum. Killian finished with two solo blocks and two assisted blocks. But Tomahawk finished it out for a 25-12 win.
In the second match, Quade continued her good play with a kill and another save that led to a Cameron point.
Tomahawk made an error in the middle of the match, leading to a 16-14. The Thunderbirds were only down two points.
The Lakeland back row contributed to one of the highlights of the match. Parris made a dig in the back that eventually led to a big slam by Cameron. Parris finished the night with nine digs.
“Their communication (was a lot better),” Punzel said. “That’s the one thing that we worked on all week. We said the two things that help win are effort and communication.”
Some of the best serves of the night came by Megan Haggart. A Haggart good serve led to a Killian kill. It was not enough and Tomahawk finished them off with a 25-20 win.
Marquardt gave Lakeland another hot start. She had a kill for the first point in the third set, followed by a assist to Quade for a kill. Then Marquardt had an ace to give Lakeland a 5-1 lead.
Tomahawk came back again. They went on a 7-3 run and the game was tied at 8-8.
With the score at 18-13, Lakeland took a timeout. The Thunderbirds responded with two big points from Quade. The first was assisted by Haggart and the second by Marquardt.
The Thunderbirds were fired up and the score was 18-15. Quade finished the game with 10 kills.
“We kept reminding them to calm down, have fun, this is the game of volleyball,” Punzel said. “They were a little bit more relaxed and came together more.”
Down 24-19, Lakeland kept fighting for any point they could get. A back-and-forth rally went Lakeland’s way and the score was 24-20.
Tomahawk got the next point and won 25-20.
“The one thing that I think that we need to kind of work on is finishing our offense,” Punzel said. “Putting those kills away and not giving them easy points.”
The team’s next set of games come Saturday, Sept. 14 with an invitational at Ashland High School starting at 9 a.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]