BROOKVILLE – After closing out the regular season with a win, the Indian Lake volleyball team kept the ball rolling in the opening round of the OHSAA Division III district volleyball tournament Oct. 17 by stomping Bethel Bees in straight sets, 25-7, 25-23, 25-15. This marks the second straight year that the Lady Lakers have opened the tournament with a win.
The Lakers, now 7-15 overall, blasted the Bees in the first, allowing Bethel only three serves for the entire set.
But as has been a problem with the Lakers this season, they seemed to lose focus in the second, allowing the Bees to take a three-point lead late in the set before a Sammi Miller-to-Michele Grider pass and spike ended the Bethel threat for the two-point win.
The Lakers broke out of their funk in the third set, jumping in front early and going on to systemically dismantle the Bees. The Miller-to-Grider connection was responsible for four powerful kills over the span of five straight points for Indian Lake midway through the third, which set the tone as the Lakers cruised to the 10-point win which capped the three-set sweep.
Laker head coach JoAnne Brademeyer said that a loss of focus has been the biggest obstacle her team has had to face this season, and used the second set of the Bethel match as an example.
“We only have two seniors on the team (Michele Grider and Hannah Kilgore), so I have to have the juniors step up,” Brademeyer said. “After the second set, I challenged them to get after it. We they do, you can see that we have a completely different team.”
Michelle Grider had 12 kills, 11 digs, two blocks and two aces in the win. Kilgore was 13-of-14 serving with three aces, while Rachel Kimmel broke out with five kills, and dropped seven aces in hitting 20 of her 21 serves. Miller had 21 assists and five digs, Brooke Lewis had six kills and two blocks and Olivia Amspaugh had five kills.
The win gives the Lakers a chance at playing on of the area’s top volleyball teams, the Anna Rockets, which came into the Division III district tourney with a 18-5 record and a number one seed. First serve for the Indian Lake/Anna match at Brookville High School is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20.
Tom Stephens is a regular contributor to this newspaper.