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Sleepy second set sinks Spring Lake on the road

Duncan MacLean • Oct 5, 2018 at 12:15 AM

COOPERSVILLE — The Broncos officially have Spring Lake’s number, as the Coopersville volleyball team completed a season sweep of the Lakers on Thursday night to take a commanding lead in the O-K Blue Conference race.

After giving up a straight-set loss at home, the Lakers were eager to even the score in their second matchup with the Broncos. Pressure, nerves and over-aggression got the best of Spring Lake, though, as they fell 3-0 once again, by scores of 25-22, 25-10, 25-23.

Sets 1 and 3 were as competitive as they come, with neither team ever leading by more than three points. Set 2 was a disaster for the Lakers, as the emotion and drive necessary to run with a squad like Coopersville disappeared.

“We just had a bit of a mental breakdown in the middle of the match, and we made a lot of errors tonight,” said Spring Lake head coach Cassidy Hazekamp. “Coopersville is a team that you can’t give that type of momentum to. They use that as fuel and turn it into an advantage really well.

“We typically play better on the road. We wanted to be aggressive today and I think that is why we made so many errors. We wanted to serve tough and hit specific spots on the court. Being aggressive always comes with errors, but it just got away from us a little bit.”

Photo Gallery: Lakers’ volleyball battles Coopersville

Abbi Perkins led the Lakers with seven kills and four blocks, while Jencen Sabo and Madeline Zenas added five kills apiece. Lauren Cooper anchored the defense with 12 digs.

Coopersville played lights-out for the duration of the match, covering every inch of the court, in or out of system, with skilled bravado. It seemed like the home team couldn’t miss, while the Lakers looked rattled, even during the competitive sets.

“One of our goals was to get them out of system as much as possible so they couldn’t run their middles,” Hazekamp said. “They’ve got tough middles that run a quick offense, so if you set them out of system or attack to the setter, then it makes them scramble. That worked in Sets 1 and 3, we just weren’t able to do that in Set 2.

“They were able to attack strong out of the middle in that second set and send us out of system.

Serve-receive was a focus point for the Lakers coming in, as Coopersville boasts high-competency from the back line.

“We served aggressive tonight with nine aces, but we also missed a few that hurt us in big spots,” Hazekamp said. “Coopersville is a great serving team so we practiced serve-receive a lot this week, but they still took advantage of that strength.”

The victory for Coopersville asserts the Broncos as the front-runners for the conference championship, but the Lakers won’t be counted out. Anything can happen down the stretch in October.

“We still have a lot of conference matches left, so we want to make sure we finish strong,” Hazekamp said. “There is always an opportunity for Coopersville to lose. We want to make sure that we finish strong just in case and prepare for our district.”

The loss drops the Lakers’ record to 28-5-1 overall and 6-2 in conference. They return to action Tuesday as they host West Catholic for Teacher Appreciation Night.

Junior varsity: The Spring Lake JV volleyball team traveled to Coopersville tonight and lost in straight sets by scores of 23-25, 15-25. Alicia Mumby had three kills, two service aces and two blocks. Taylor Britton added two kills for the Lakers. Kyla Kobylak had two service aces, two kills, nine assists and five digs. Kendra Kieft led the Lakers defensively with 10 digs while Taylor Gates added eight digs. The Lakers are 15-7-2 overall and 5-3 in the OK Blue Conference.

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