CHARLESTON — After a 3-1 loss in late August, Lake Land head volleyball coach Ashli Robison and a healthy Lakers volleyball team found their revenge against Kaskaskia Wednesday at Laker Fieldhouse.
The 3-0 sweep over visiting Kaskaskia moved coach Robison’s team to 11-18 on the season and 3-4 in Great Rivers Athletic Conference play, while Kaskaskia falls to 14-7 overall and 4-3 in GRAC play. The Lakers defeated Kaskaskia 25-22, 25-23, 25-23.
After trading points, early in the first set the Lakers used a five-point run from Alexandra Beckers to gain momentum and put her team out in front 10-4. Solid play at the net from freshman Alexis Rankin (3 solo blocks, 7 block assists) along with Ryann Ambrose and Brooklyn Elsas, who each notched 13 kills, ensured the Lakers remained in front on their way to a 25-22 opening-set victory.
“As a team, we came out ready to play tonight and put the ball away,” freshman Brooklyn Elsas said. “We wanted this conference win tonight.”
The conference foes traded points throughout the second set before a Kaskaskia timeout with the match tied at 20 allowed the Lakers to regain their focus and jump out in front 24-20 on Emily Watson serves before an Elsas kill ended the set at 25-23 in favor of the Lakers.
Elsas said reading the opponent's sets and going for everything, not giving up and strong communication on the court were keys to tonight’s victory.
Continuing to fight for the ball while reading the sets helped the Lakers win the battle at the net throughout the night, Kaskaskia coach Kim Rahar said despite a lot of hits from her team they were unable set the pass and put the ball away.
“It goes back to putting the ball down,” Rahar said. “When you have 150 attempts and only (like) 34 kills that’s a big gap in between there."
Rahar also pointed out some more mistakes the team made.
“Our hitters weren’t doing their job, anytime our pass was off we set our outside, and that’s where the block was just camped out.”
The Lakers found themselves all tied at 19 in the third and final set before a kill from Elsas and four service points from Kelcie Darnell put the Lakers up 24-19. The Blue Angels fought back to 24-23 before another Elsas ended the night for the Rahar’s team.
Robison said the first home win of the season came at a great time and hopes it will give her team some consistency going forward.
“With volleyball, you can be inconsistent, you can be on one night, the next see a completely different team,” Robison said. “We were clicking, we were on and that’s what it takes to win.
“They know that and that’s something that I’m glad that we did we did tonight cause now they felt that and know what it is now.”
The two conference opponents are likely to see a final, season-series deciding match in regional play after the regular season wraps up.
For now, though, Robison said the key is for her team to remain focused and consistent the remainder of the season.
“Really coming in and focusing in practice and remembering what that felt like and remember playing hard is rewarding and really just sticking to that lineup and seeing how it gelled together,” she said.
Robison also explained the struggles the team has had this season.
“We’ve had six players out, three players out, so we’ve kind of had that against us, so with everybody back now is the time to be at our peak.”