2018-10-06 / Sports

Lakers Volleyball Team Plays Well, Improves

By Kevin R. Hess

The Mackinac Island Lakers volleyball team has a record of 5-6 through the first half of its season, but has won five of its last eight matches after being swept 3-0 in each of its first three matches.

“I have seen lots of improvements over the first half of the season,” said Lakers coach Jennifer Schrader. “We had two big positions to fill with the loss of two seniors (from last year) and the ladies really picked it up and filled those positions with ease.”

The Lakers began the season with a 3-0 loss to Whittemore-Prescott Monday, August 20. That was followed by 3-0 losses to Forest Area Wednesday, August 29 and to Maplewood Baptist Wednesday, September 5. Mackinac Island picked up its first wins of the season with back-to-back, thrilling, five-set victories over Hannahville Friday, September 7, and Saturday, September 8.

The Lakers lost 3-1 to Atlanta Tuesday, September 11, and then picked up their first home win of the season with a 3-0 sweep of Paradise on Wednesday, September 12.

Munising Baptist came to the Island for two matches Tuesday, September 18, and defeated the Lakers 2-0 in each of those. Mackinac Island bounced back to take two home matches from Ojibwe Charter Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22. Both matches were 3-0 results.

“As we become more experienced, our skills get stronger and we’ll make less ‘inexperience mistakes,’” said coach Schrader. “I expect a lot out of my team, and even though they are young, I expect them to use their three hits and make good plays.”

Ms. Schrader said it can be hard to keep with a game plan when other teams don’t play that way, but she continues to preach it to her young team. She is pleased with the cohesiveness of her team and doesn’t see many major areas that need improvement.

“As we get older and continue through the season, the small improvements like better communication and trust will happen,” she said.

Ms. Schrader said sophomore Ella Cowell is a floor leader and a player she can always trust to make the right play. She has been the appointed setter since her eighth-grade year.

“She sets fair and makes sure all of the hitters have the opportunity to attack,” said Ms. Schrader.

Eighth grader Nora Bailey and freshmen Mabel Styburski and Clara Chambers have made appearances at the net, blocking some big hits from opponents and altering other shots. The Lakers lone upper classman, Hannah Styburski, has been a great leader and the most consistent server on the team, Ms. Schrader said.

Mackinac Island traveled to Atlanta Tuesday, September 25, and hosted Beaver Island Friday, September 28, and Saturday, September 29. It will host its annual Mackinac Island tournament Saturday, October 6, beginning at 10 a.m.

The Island team will also host the Class D District of the MHSAA volleyball tournament starting Monday, October 29.

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