Detroit Lakes Volleyball Preview
During the 2011 season, the Detroit Lakes volleyball team dropped more than their share of close matches against some teams they felt they should have beaten.
With the majority of the players back from last year, the Lakers are hoping to correct that discrepancy and add quite a few more wins to their record.
"We just never quite got over that hump last year," said DL head coach Jim Wood. "I see no reason why we can't compete with the top teams in the section this year."
The Lakers' optimism is well-founded, since they are a bit lengthier than they have been in the past at the net and have solid leadership and experience at the setter position.
DL returns five seniors in Hailey Jorgenson, Marissa Bridgeman, Megan Lindquist, Brooklyn Thompson and Emma Wood.
The Lakers also will be seasoned in the middle, with junior Trisa Hutchinson and sophomore Shay Nielsen returning, along with junior Julia Taylor.
"Shay and Trisa played a lot in the middle and junior Jenna Field is coming on strong as an outside hitter," Wood said. "Our two middles will be our big blockers."
The experience the team gained last year alone makes them more court savvy, which should lead to better serve-receive percentages.
"The girls have more court sense and they are starting to hit the holes more and playing smarter," said assistant coach Mindy Nielsen.
Junior Megan Ostlie will be the team's left hitter, while Field and Lindquist are "exceeding expectations" on the outside as well.
"Our right hitters will be a factor in Megan Lindquist and Julia Taylor," Wood added.
The setting will be done by the platoon of Emma Wood and Bridgeman, who is coming off an ACL injury suffered during last year's girls' basketball season.
"We have two capable setters, so I feel comfortable there," Wood said.
Others who will be providing valuable depth include sophomore Sophie Wood and juniors Hanna Gedrose and Alexis Engkjer.
The team has also shown they will be a force with their serving.
"I am extremely happy with the serving, they are serving aggressively and serving to score a point, instead of just getting it over the net," the DL coach said.
The labero position is still up for grabs, but Sophie Wood has shown in practice to have an inside track on the position.
The Lakers will open the season at home against Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
(Follow Brian Wierima on Twitter at DLSportsGuy.)
The 2012 Detroit Lakes volleyball schedule:
30 at Bemidji
6 Wadena-Deer Creek
11 at Pelican Rapids
13 Park Rapids
15 at Hawley
17 at Perham
18 at Frazee
20 at Crosby-Ironton
25 at East Grand Forks
27 Thief River Falls
29 at Fergus Falls
2 at Pequot Lakes