CORTLAND - In 2013, the motto for the Lakeview volleyball team has been "one step further." But after the Bulldogs' three-set win over LaBrae on Thursday, coach Scott Taylor had to take one step back.
The 17-year coaching veteran reflected on a great career with the help of players past and present. After 277 wins, five league titles and five 20-win seasons, Taylor is stepping down from the coaching ranks. After this school year, he's retiring from teaching as well.
"It's quite an honor," said Taylor after lines of photographs, hugs and high-fives. "The support is overwhelming and it's just amazing."
Lakeview defeated the Vikings 25-19, 25-14 and 25-4, yet LaBrae coach Alyse Consiglio was all smiles after the match. It was a night for celebration for her, too.
After six years, she's stepping down from her coaching post. It's a career come full circle as Consiglio played for Taylor at Lakeview.
"I learned a lot from Scott," said Consiglio, who also was Taylor's junior varsity coach for six years. "Building a program and seeing the kind of morale that goes into inspiring a team that wasn't very good. Plus, just learning how to win; playing doesn't mean you know how to coach a team.
With the third game of the match against LaBrae well in hand, Lakeview coach Scott Taylor, right, coaching in his last regular season game, high-fives Lakeview’s Laney Lytle as she comes out of the game.
LaBrae coach Alyse Consiglio, second from left, instructs her team between matches against Lakeview. This is her last regular season game as the coach of the Vikings.
"I learned how to go through drills, how to manage girls sports. I really learned a lot."
Taylor is currently the president of the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association and Consiglio is the secretary. They've also formed a friendship from coaching for so long at the prep ranks and for off-season travel teams.
"She was here for the first one and she's here for the last one," Taylor said. "It's got to be some sort of record."
It also was senior night for the Bulldogs (19-3, 10-0). In her final game at the Bulldogs gym, Calli Schmitt had nine kills and three blocks.
"It hasn't sunk in," she said. "Not at all. I'm a very emotional person and I haven't cried or anything. It hasn't hit me. I still think I'm a sophomore."
Marissa Naples totaled 11 service points, while Caitlin McDivitt had 10 for Lakeview. Naples also led with 10 kills and McDivitt had 35 assists. Laney Lytle and Rachelle Calvin each had four aces for the Bulldogs.
"We're all going to miss coach Taylor," Schmitt said. "He makes everything fun. He's an awesome coach. I wouldn't be the player I am without him. It was a great four years with him."
Lakeview is ranked 15th in the latest OHSVCA poll and a three seed at the sectional and district tournament in Jefferson.
"We're in one of the toughest Division II sectionals in the state," Taylor said. "But this this is the most talented team I've ever had. If anyone can make a run at it, it's these guys."
Mentor Lake Catholic has always been a roadblock for the Bulldogs in the postseason with the 2003 team giving the Cougars the deepest challenge.
"That's exactly what I want to do," Schmitt said. "I want to go a step further and be a district champion."
Ashley Gregory had 14 assists for LaBrae (12-10, 5-5), while Somer McCoy had seven kills and Paige Losey added 13 assists.
Consiglio, a LaBrae science teacher, has a license to be a school principal and two toddlers to take care of at home. This won't be her last run at coaching, though.
"I have a 4 and 2 year old," she said. "Just waiting until they're old enough to play."