COTTONWOOD — The Lakeview volleyball team was young and inexperienced last season. While the team’s small group of upperclassmen made for some growing pains, the Lakers are looking to come back stronger in 2023.
Korysa Herrick, Erin Meyer and Rebeca Errington were the team’s lone seniors last year. Meyer finished the season with a team-high 323 kills and Herrick led the team with 377 digs and 64 service aces. While their contributions were key, the Lakers have the benefit of returning most of their roster this season and will return much of the group again in 2024.
Lakeview had its share of struggles in 2022. They took down Central Minnesota Christian in four sets on Sept. 8 and beat Ortonville in a best-of-three-sets matchup in a Minnewaska tournament on Sept. 17. Yet, they finished the season on a 14-match losing streak to close the year with a 2-20 record. Still, the season wasn’t without positives that the Lakers can build on this year.
“We’ve obviously all grown a year, so that helps. We were very young last year… but our younger girls gained a lot of experience last year and they worked hard this summer,” Lakeview head coach Stephanie Hennen said.
Olivia Hinz is going to be a major part of the Lakers’ offensive game this year, Hennen said. She finished last year as the team leader in set assists with 524, nearly 200 more than the next closest Laker. Her 454 serve attempts were also second on the team behind Meyer and Aubrey Nething.
“[Olivia’s] going to be a senior playing in the middle for us and she really can swing out of any spot in the front, so we’re excited about that,” Hennen said, adding that Kiara and Taylor Hinz are also expected to step into key roles for Lakeview. Kiara Hinz’s 244 kills last year were second on the team to Meyer.
“Kiara Hinz and Taylor Hinz are also going to be asked to do a lot more for us. Score, play defense and swing on the outside,” Hennen said.
Backing up Olivia Hinz in the middle, Aubreigh Rausch showed off some chops as a capable setter last season with 285 set assists — behind just Hinz and Avigail Butterfield. Hennen added that she also expects to see Nething and Megan Schwartz to take a step forward to round out their front row, though determining the team’s libero and defensive specialists is still a work in progress.
Overall, the focus of the Lakers’ season this year is going to be on development. Looking at a group with only two seniors, getting the younger players ready to carry the mantel going forward is going to be a key part of Lakeview’s long-term success.
“I would like them to gain confidence and hopefully we can gain some confidence each and every time that we go out and play,” Hennen said. “Not that you have to necessarily get that from winning every time, but just the little things. We’ve got to work on doing the little things and building up our confidence.”
With the season approaching fast, the Lakers are ready to get out and compete. Lakeview’s season-opener on Thursday against section runner-up Russell-Tyler-Ruthton feels like it’s coming fast, Hennen said, but the team is ready for the challenge.
“It’s crazy how fast it came, but I think the girls are looking forward to getting out and playing against other people other than each other,” Hennen said. “It’s always good to see how you match up and it’ll show us what we all have to work on. We have a lot to work on but it’s okay, it’s early.”
Aug. 24 at RTR, 7:15 p.m.
Aug. 29 at Wabasso, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 7 at Ortonville, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 9 home tournament, 9:30 a.m.
Sept. 11 vs. Edgerton, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 12 vs. Dawson-Boyd, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 14 at KMS, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 19 vs. LQPV, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 26 at RCW, 7:15 p.m.
Sept. 28 vs. TMB, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 3 vs. Minneota, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 5 at MCC, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 6-7 at SMSU (Tournament)
Oct. 10 vs. Canby, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 13 at YME, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 16 at CMC, 7:15 p.m.
Oct. 19 at MACCRAY, 7:15 p.m.