MATTOON — Coming off an upset win over NJCAA Div. II No. 11 ranked McHenry, Laker head coach Ashli Robison’s team faced a winless Lincoln Trail Wednesday in Laker Fieldhouse.
The Lakers defeated the visiting Statesmen in straight sets 25-14, 25-18 and 25-18 to move to 15-22 overall and 4-5 in Great Rivers Athletic Conference play.
Lincoln Trail (0-18, 0-9) scored first in all three sets, but strong blocking from the Lakers ensured the visitors were unable to get anything going on sophomore night.
“Them blocking us from the beginning kind of shut down our hitters,” Lincoln Trail head coach Dana Goodwin said. “Even when I called a timeout, telling them to start hitting around the block. Seeing it before swinging, we just couldn’t execute.”
Robison said her team tends to play towards the competition level leading to the slow start.
“Coming out against a team like that, it’s really hard to find your normal groove because the momentum is so low,” she said. “A lot of teams suffer from that, it’s just trying to get your sync when it’s off-speed balls or out-of-system balls.”
Robison started all of her sophomores on their final regular season game, which she said added to the teams’ inability to find their groove early on.
“I think that took away from what we are normally doing,” she said. “Add the emotions of sophomore night and the gym feel all together it just couldn’t get us all in sync.
Sophomore Ryann Ambrose continued her impressive season leading the team in blocking with seven block assists, an ace and zero errors.
Ambrose said despite Lincoln Trail's record and the big upset over No. 11 McHenry, her teammates have to remember to always push.
“Those three games were close,” the sophomore said. “They wanted to beat us. They came in with good defense.”
Lake Land finishes the regular season on the road against conference opponent Southwestern Illinois College Oct. 25 before hosting the Region 24 tournament Oct. 27-28.