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Detroit Lakes volleyball snags No. 3 seed for playoffs

Lakers Carrie Sorensen (6) and Kayli Muckenhirn (11) nearly collide going after the ball during a recent home game. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)

The Detroit Lakes volleyball team hit the fast lane of improvement this past season and it led them to a No. 3 seed in the South Section 8-2A playoffs.

It's a tale of totally two different teams for the Lakers, from the one which took to the court in the first game of the season to the final one, which extended a four-game winning streak and an 11-9 record.

"From where we started and where we finished, that's where the reward is in itself," said DL head coach Beth Leighton. "It's nice getting the No. 3 seed since having home court in the first round is a bonus."

Inexperienced players quickly blossomed into confident, seasoned ones throughout the season.

"We had a good solid core coming back and they just got better," Leighton said. "Then our younger girls improved dramatically with experience."

The Lakers are strong at the net with hitters Carrie Sorensen and Ashlyn Jasken leading the way, while Kayli Muckenhirn, Jen Matter and Bethany Stoltenburg have held the perimeter well.

Rachel Shane has quarterbacked the offense with solid leadership as the team's setter and will be counted on to deliver the ball to the DL hitters through the playoffs.

"She has good neutral positioning to not give the set away," Leighton said. "She also added a jump set, which helps hold the blockers."

It has been literally a team effort, with the bench supplying good depth, which also has added a strong, aggressive serving presence.

The Lakers will host No. 6 Hawley Thursday at 7 p.m. with the winner taking on the victor between No. 2 Breckenridge and No. 7 Perham Friday at the higher seed.