Youthful Lakeview stays unbeaten, tops Raiders
BEAVER TOWNSHIP — The Lakeview Bulldogs may have one of the youngest rosters in the area experience wise, but they sure haven’t played like it.
Lakeview carries a roster with only a pair of seniors and a sophomore heavy lineup, but the Bulldogs have quickly asserted themselves as the top dog in the Northeast-8 Conference with an 8-0 record at the midway point in the season after a 3-1 victory on the road against a persistent South Range team.
Despite the Bulldogs winning the first two sets, the Raiders didn’t give up and fought hard to take the third set and nearly win set number four. The need to play hard from beginning to end was a point that Lakeview coach Heather Guthrie emphasized following the match.
“Our team is playing really well, we are playing together as a team,” she said. “Our kryptonite that I just told them is that we don’t play our ball consistently. We like to go up and down like a roller coaster and I can’t figure out why.
“We have to learn that we have to play our game from point zero to point 25. Tonight we did not do that in the third set, in the fourth set we started to play our game when we sided out near the end and we came back, from (points) 19-25 we played our game.”
Bulldogs senior Anna Peterson, who tied the game-high with 13 kills, feels that communication is key down the stretch.
“South Range is a great team and they didn’t give up, and we sort of had that mindset from the second set, we had a pretty big lead and then we let that up,” she said “In the third set, we think that we’re OK, back-and-forth.
“We just need to encourage everyone to trust each other, bring our energy up, keep talking, that’s what really gets us down the most.”
South Range (5-6) is another young team with only one senior, and Raiders coach Todd Irons is happy that his team kept fighting despite being down.
“I felt like in the beginning, they (Lakeview) got off to a good start, and then we were on our heels, but then once I feel like once we got our feet under us they kind of put them on their heels,” he said.
During the back-and-forth fourth set, Maria Primavera went down with an injury and had to be helped off the court.
“Obviously, having a player go down is never fun, but I felt like our girls kind of rallied around that and said, now we’re going to play for Maria a little bit and they knew that we had a freshman in the game replacing Maria,” Irons said. “They talked her through that, they communicated her through that, but I feel like our team is young, but we can’t really use that as an excuse now, because we’re halfway through our season, so we can’t say we’re young anymore. We’ve got to start doing things the way they need to be done more consistently.”
Sophomore Maggie Pavlansky helped guide the Lakeview attack with a game-high 31 assists, and feels that the team is gaining lots of experience from Peterson and their other senior Mara Crish.
“They’re great,” Pavlansky said. “They trust us, they support us and they’re just really good leaders. They’ve got leadership qualities to them and they’re great people.”
Peterson speaks from experience.
“A lot of our team is very young, so it’s good to have them look up to us,” she said. “I’ve been in their position, so I can help them out, fight with their nerves, and just show them the ropes and in the next few years they’re going to be amazing because they’re going to have all of this experience.
“So, I’m glad to be a part of their training process and help them out through that.”
Izzy Lamparty, the Raiders lone senior, tied the game-high for kills alongside Peterson with 13. Lamparty also recorded three blocks, and teammate Reagan Irons led the game with 28 digs.
Maddie Bayus had 25 digs for Lakeview, and fellow Bulldog Brooke Schnider led the game with four aces.
Moving forward, Guthrie doesn’t want the Bulldogs to look too far ahead.
“We only look from game-to-game right now, our conference is competitive,” she said “We’re getting a lot more competition then what we have in the past with our conference so, we go game-to-game and I tell the girls it’s up to them with how far we go.”