After defeating Mission League rival Notre Dame on Oct. 3, the Wolverines’ Homecoming match featured a non-conference matchup against Lakewood High School, a team the Wolverines sought revenge against after losing to in preseason play.
The tough hitting Lakewood Lancers jumped out to an early lead over the Wolverines. The squad lost the match 1-3, but continued to compete after being down 0-2. The team came out with energy in the third set, blocking hit after hit and playing its best defense of the night. Led by the hitting of team captain and opposite hitter Josephine Kremer ’14, the Wolverines were able to secure the third set 25-23.
“Our mindset going into the Lakewood game was that we were just going to put everything out there, knowing that they were a really good team and had some big hitters,” team captain and setter Nicole Elattrache ’14 said. “It was pretty rough and difficult to compete with them, so we knew that the only way we would have any success was by coming together and just being really scrappy because that’s what we can control.”
The Lancer front row was too much to handle in the fourth set for the Wolverines, who attempted to make a comeback midway through the set while being down but eventually lost 23-25. The squad ended the match losing 1-3, but took a lot away from playing against the 43rd ranked team in California.
“I thought we went out our hardest, and it was just a tough team to play especially because we hadn’t played blockers that were that big and aggressive, but I think it was a good chance for us to realize that we’re not invincible despite our great wins in league, and that the teams we are going to face in playoffs are going to be really tough just like Lakewood,” opposite hitter Mia Natsis ’14 said.
The Wolverines have faced tough competition all over the country, including a matchup against Assumption, a team from Kentucky ranked 10th in the nation, and a non-league game against Marymount, the CIF Division I State Champions.
The squad lost to Assumption 0-2 in the Durango Tournament in Las Vegas, Nev., but managed to defeat the Marymount Sailors for the first time in seven years 3-1.
“Going into the Marymount match the team was focused every day in practice and intent on getting better as part of the preparation process to play really good volleyball,” head coach Adam Black said. “The win proves that training with a purpose and as a team will improve our performance. That win was a byproduct of everyone’s efforts in practice and support for each other.”
After advancing past pool play with a 4-0 record in the Cali Challenge tournament, the squad faced off against Marymount in the quarterfinals.
The Wolverines took the first set 25-18, lost the tightly contested second set 22-25, and closed out the match with a down to the wire 15-11 win against the Sailors.
The win marks the second time in the last month that the squad beat the defending state champions.
The Wolverines went on to lose their next match 2-0 to Torrey Pines in the semifinals of the tournament .
“I think we played unbelievably well, and it wasn’t just Marymount making mistakes, it was us showing what we can really do,” middle blocker Arielle Strom ’14 said. “It was really exciting to beat them again because it shows that our first game against them wasn’t just a fluke, and that we can actually beat them. We are better than them.”
The team faces Louisville today, and will matchup against league rival Notre Dame Oct. 22.
The Wolverines split the season series last year against the Knights and defeated them in their first meeting this year 3-0.
“I think we definitely realize that they are our biggest competition in the Mission League, and that beating them at their home will be much harder than taking them on here [at home],” outside hitter Rachel Savage ’15 said. “If we did what we did the first time and came out with a lot more fire than them we will have similar results.”