Lakers fall short of Panthers in four sets

Bear Lake’s Julie Schmidt returns a serve Thursday night as teammate Kaitlynn Omar looks on. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

Bear Lake’s Julie Schmidt returns a serve Thursday night as teammate Kaitlynn Omar looks on. (Kyle Kotecki/News Advocate)

BEAR LAKE — Bear Lake volleyball hosted Frankfort in a non-conference matchup Thursday and fell in four sets by scores of 19-25, 25-20, 18-25 and 15-25.

“Oh my goodness — we were so flat,” said Frankfort coach Becky Miller. “I don’t even know what was going on. I think Raegan (Thorr) was hitting really well and we were doing well with that. I just feel like we were just really flat. (The Lakers) are in our district and if we don’t work a little harder they’re going to give us a run for the money if we get that far.”

The Lakers donned pink socks and shirts during the game in an effort to raise breast cancer awareness.

Bear Lake kept right up with the Panthers in the first two sets, dropping the first but coming back with a strong performance to take the second.

“Our intentions were to come in strong and confident,” said Bear Lake coach Marla Evans. “Frankfort is in our district. We heard good things about them. They were definitely a good team. I felt like the confidence was there — at least for the first two matches. We lost the first one but we did win the second one.”

The Lakers jumped out to an early lead in the third set but were unable to hold on and eventually Frankfort secured the set when a Bear Lake hit wound up in the net.

“I think at this point it’s just being able to go the distance,” Evans said. “Take it through each match and not just the first one or first two. Being able to spread it out throughout the whole game so we can take the win.”

Julie Schmidt had three kills, one ace and four digs for the Lakers. Shaely Waller added one kill and one block, Kaitlynn Omar finished with seven kills and one ace while Olivia Hejl recorded three kills, six assists and two aces.

“We started to fall off a steep slope of missing all of our serves and letting some things hit the ground that we weren’t in the first and second matches,” Evans said. “With that said, in the third game, we did lose 18-25 but I didn’t think that was terrible. We were hanging. In fact, I think we were leading at the beginning.”

With the loss, Bear Lake falls to 5-8 on the season in dual-meet play. Though disappointed with the end result, the Lakers can be proud of a competitive game against a quality opponent.

“I think it went okay,” said Bear Lake’s Julie Schmidt. “We could talk a lot more. I would say our transitioning was pretty good, and our coverage.”

The final set was tied 3-3 before Frankfort went on a 9-2 run to take a 12-5 lead. From there the teams went back and forth and Hejl aced to cut the Panthers’ advantage to 15-10.

“I told the girls they were a well-oiled machine out there,” Evans said. “Each part was doing what it was supposed to be doing. They were moving their feet, they were talking and they were hitting the ball well. … I just think that as a team they are working well together right now.”

After the Panthers took an 18-13 advantage they went on a 7-2 run to close out the game. Frankfort punctuated the win with a booming spike by Riley Thorr.

“I think we actually served pretty well,” Miller said. “We had some silly mistakes and it was a momentum shift but we served well and towards the end there we were kind of able to get it together a little bit.”

With just one more match until the Lakers begin district play, Evans knows what the team will focus on in practices to be playing its best heading into the postseason.

“Definitely serving,” Evans said. “And our aggressiveness at the net. I think we’re going to need to bring it. We have (Manistee Catholic Central) opening game for us (at districts). We know how well they hit, so we’re going to be working on digging and being confident with a good hitter coming at us.”

The Lakers compete Thursday in a non-conference match at Buckley at 6 p.m.

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