Bear Lake volleyball takes second at Brethren Invitational

Bear Lake volleyball poses with the second-place trophy following the Brethren Invite tournament Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

Bear Lake volleyball poses with the second-place trophy following the Brethren Invite tournament Saturday. (Courtesy photo)

BRETHREN — Bear Lake volleyball went undefeated in pool play en route to a second-place finish in the Brethren Invitational Saturday.

“The girls put up a heck of a fight (Saturday) and came away with a trophy for second place, which was one of our season goals,” said Bear Lake head coach Marla Evans. “Their smiles were priceless and well-deserved.”

The Lakers (4-5 overall, 4-4 West Michigan D League) made short work of non-conference foe Buckley to begin pool play, besting the Bears 25-9 and 25-8. They went on to battle Manistee Catholic Central for two competitive sets, winning 25-16 and 25-17. Bear Lake then defeated Marion 25-22 and 25-8 to be the first-place team heading into the elimination games.

The Lakers were short-handed throughout the tournament but were able to play well on the day due to players stepping up to contribute.

“We were down three girls all day,” Evans said. “Our starter Abby Cross and our setting relief player Zoey Sutton were among those that couldn’t be there. Mariah McLouth got injured during the Marion sets and was out for most of the rest of the day.”

The Lakers battled Brethren in the semifinals and eventually bested the Bobcats by scores of 25-20, 23-25 and 15-3. The Lakers came up short in the finals against McBain, falling 7-25 and 15-25.

Olivia Hejl led the Lakers with 33 assists, 15 aces and five kills. Kaitlynn Omar added 21 kills, three aces and three blocks, Shaely Waller tallied nine kills, one ace and six digs while Cosima Holler finished with six kills, nine aces, two digs and two blocks.

With the regular season winding down, the Lakers’ strong showing at the tournament shows the players just how good they can be if they work together and could give them momentum heading into postseason play.

“It was a collaborative team effort and a ton of fun,” Evans said.

The Lakers entered the tournament having won two of their last three matches, with a four-set win over Brethren and a sweep of Baldwin bookending a loss to Big Rapids Crossroads.

Bear Lake hosts Marion in a West-Michigan D League showdown today at 7 p.m.

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