Attribute it to the 10 days off from competition or the high coming off a conference championship win over Eagan a more than a week earlier. However you want to look at it, Lakeville South Volleyball struggled early against Burnsville Friday night but eventually got the 3-0 win.
The Cougars brought in competition such as Blaine (#3 3A) and Jordan (#2 6A) over the week to imitate an intense game atmosphere. However, nothing quite compares to the actually thing. Lakeville South took it on the chin early in game one, falling behind by as many as seven points at times.
“It was kind of one of those things where it was uncomfortable,” says Cougar coach Jen Nelson, “You never want to start like that.”
Ultimately it was Lakeville South’s ability to outlast Burnsville that handed them the victory in game one. The Cougars topped the Blaze in game one 25-20, despite the formidable Burnsville defense.
Game two was all Lakeville South, despite the impression you’d get from a lethargic home town crowd. Senior Mid-hitter Kaitlyn VanWinkle was a presence up on the net, as always. Getting in the way of Burnsville’s go-to offensive athletes, Alli Butler, Lauren Randall and Krista Lorang.
“It’s just the first couple of points are always getting used to playing a different team,” says VanWinkle, “Once we get into the groove it’s all good.”
Sometimes a team just needs to get slapped in the face to wake up. Lakeville South in game two, 25-16.
Never to be counted out in any game Friday night, Burnsville came out in game three as a team that wasn’t ready to call it a season. However, in the end, it was the Cougars again able to outlast a determined Blaze. 25-21 in game three, Lakeville South advances to the section semi-finals.
The Cougars will be hosting the Jaguars of Bloomington Jefferson next Wednesday night. It will be a double header at Lakeville South high school as both semi-final games will be played.
#2 Eagan will be facing #3 Lakeville North in the early match, with Lakeville South and Bloomington Jefferson to follow.
Needless to say, if you’re Coach Nelson, playing like this against the Jaguars won’t cut it.
“The girls felt like at sometimes they were caught a little bit on their heels on defense, remembering what that feels like…they don’t want to feel that way.”