Lakers ready to surprise
There might be some under-the-radar flying for the Detroit Lakes volleyball team, but with six seniors returning, the Lakers are more than equipped to be making some noise during the 2010 season.
Even without the respect within volleyball circles, first-year head coach Jim Wood has lots of faith in his Laker squad.
"Our goal is to be in the section championship game," Wood said.
"This is a team which is going to surprise some people. DL isn't expected to win many games, but we are going to go out and surprise."
There will be plenty of leadership on the Laker roster, as well, in seniors Lauren Olson, Carrie Sorensen, Jen Matter, Rachel Shane, Melody Peterson and Savannah Fritz.
Not only do the upper classmen bring experience, they bring talent which will be spread throughout the court.
"We're going to be a fast tempo team," Wood said. "The key will be to have a fast offensive attack and have as many quick hits as we can."
Up front, the Lakers will be primed to be tough.
Sorensen had a breakout season last year and looks to be even better this year.
The senior will be versatile, playing both the outside and middle hitter positions, as well as having the ability to attack from the back row.
"She hasn't reached her full potential and this year, she is looking more confident and is excelling as a team leader," Wood said. "Carrie has a great arm swing and very good timing. She will also be one of our best blockers."
Shane also returns after having a strong season as setter and will only be better in 2010.
"She is simply amazing as a setter," Wood included. "She gets it done."
The Lakers were without Matter for most of last year after she recovered from a knee injury.
But this time, she is fully recovered and ready to help on the net.
"Jen came into practice in great shape," the DL coach said. "She hits the ball strong and is another leader for us."
Olson comes in as the right side hitter, where which she supplies length and blocking ability.
Peterson and Fritz also will be main components, with Fritz giving DL another strong hitter up front and Peterson a reliable backrow player.
"(Junior) Makenzie Gedrose and Peterson will be good in the back row, giving us some good passing," Wood said. "Gedrose will once again be our labero, as well."
Junior Kayli Muckenhirn will also give the Lakers yet another athletic body, along with outside hitter sophomore Karli Kerzman.
Wood, who has been the Junior Olympic volleyball coach for the DL area, knows this group of players well after coaching them the last several years.
He also knows this is a group who can succeed.
"Coaching (high school) is nice because I have their 100-percent attention," Wood said. "I can work them a little harder and help condition them. This is a talented group."
The Lakers open the season at home Tuesday, when they host Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton, starting at 7:30 p.m.
The 2010 Detroit Lakes volleyball schedule:
2 at Bemidji
9 Wadena-Deer Creek
16 Park Rapids
18 at Hawley
21 at Frazee
23 at Crosby-Ironton
28 at East Grand Forks
7 at Pequot Lakes
14 Thief River Falls
18 at Fergus Falls
19 at Perham
27 Section play-in game
29 Section quarterfinals
2 Section semifinals
5 Section finals
11-13 State tournament.