Lake front line hitters trying to elevate even higher

J. Patrick Eaken

Last year, Lake volleyball won its’ first league title since 1976, when the Flyers competed in the Northern Lakes League.

The Flyers finished 20-3 overall and 12-1 in the Northern Buckeye Conference, sharing the title with Eastwood. This year, they want to go one further and qualify for the regional tournament for the first time in school history.

“Our goal is to finish undefeated in the league and make a decent tournament run. We haven’t won districts ever at our school so that is our goal,” Lake seventh-year coach Amy Vorst said. 

“Overall, these kids are playing well. They are getting better every day. They play for each other, so that’s a big part of it. We have the best chemistry I think we have ever had. I think that is a key. We have amazing parents who support the girls and overall, this is what we have been working for.”

Of course, they still had to get past Eastwood Thursday. Lake, ranked 10th in the Division III state coaches’ poll, defeated Eastwood, ranked 15th, in straight sets 25-20, 25-20, 25-18 on the Flyers’ floor.

Lake leaders were sophomore outside hitter Taryn Dewese with 12 kills and 10 assists, junior hitter Ella Vorst with nine kills, senior hitter Cassidey Wiley with eight kills, and junior outside hitter Zoe Ager with five aces and 15 digs. Lake made sure their field house was filled to the brim for the first showdown between the two teams.

“It was awesome. We tried to pack the gym and we were close. We had tons of community support and tons of student support. It was incredible,” said Vorst.

Heading into Thursday night’s game, Lake was 16-1 overall and 9-0 in the Northern Buckeye Conference, while Eastwood’s only loss all season was to the Flyers. Vorst knew the environment at Eastwood would be packed with excitement, too, because she is an Eastwood graduate who won a state championship her senior year.

“It’s always different over there. They always bring it. He (Eastwood coach Jeff Beck) definitely does a good job over there,” Vorst said.

Lake has the height to take on just about anyone. Ella Vorst, the coaches’ daughter, stands 6-foot-2, Wiley is 6-0, Dewese stands 5-11 and junior Skylar Foster is 5-11, but pushing 6-0, says Vorst.

Dewese, sophomore setter Vayda Delventhal and senior Lani Robinson are six-rotation players, which adds to the team’s depth. So, don’t just look at that DS next to their name because they’ll be on the front line, too.

Dewese leads the team in kills with 163, followed by Wiley (157) and Vorst (153). Wiley has 26 aces, followed by Dewese (25), Delventhal (23) and Foster (22). The best passers are Delventhal with 298 assists, which is six per set, and Dewese has 187. No one else has more than 46 assists.

Defensively, DS Sydney Stanley has 218 digs, averaging 12.8 per match, followed by Delventhal (149), Dewese (135) and Ager (84). Stanley also leads the team in serve receiving at 14.9 per match.

Lake has been so dominant in many matches, that learning a tough lesson when they traveled to take on No. 2 ranked Ottawa-Glandorf at The Supreme Court in Putnam County was not such a bad thing.

The Flyers were used to smashing kills with little opposition. Their opponents’ best hopes were usually to get on the floor and dig them out. At O-G, the Titans gave the Flyers a lesson in blocks, winning 25-22, 19-25, 25-16, 25-20 and giving Lake their only loss. Coming against a team that could block kill attempts was a good lesson to learn during the regular season, Vorst said.

O-G is a team that Lake could match up against if they both reach the regional tournament. Vorst was pleased to see her squad make the regular season match competitive, even winning a set.

“It was not a blowout by any means. We definitely did OK,” Vorst said. “We’re not making excuses. They played well and they have an established program there. O-G is ranked second in the state and there has to be a reason.”

The Flyers have been working on blocks because when two solid teams go against each other, you see more and more of that action above the net. Wiley has a team-leading 29 blocks, followed by Vorst (27) and Dewese (16). Part of that is learning to get a kill attempt past the block.

“We’ve been working on shots, and we work on blocking every day. We haven’t really put a lot of effort on blocking, but this year we’ve spent more time on that,” Vorst said. “We literally work on hitting shots every day, and not just banging the ball and putting it nowhere. The girls have a good game plan every time they go out.”

Other big non-league wins have come over Sylvania Southview, Defiance, Evergreen and Oak Harbor, all in straight sets. In two games during the Southview Spiketacular, DeWese led the Flyers with 25 kills, Wiley with 20 kills and Ella Vorst with 16 kills.

However, to get to the regional, coach Vorst believes her team will have to go through Liberty-Benton or Huron in the district tournament. Huron is ranked eighth in the state poll.

Plus, no matter what happened Thursday night between the Flyers and Eagles, there still remains some solid competition in the NBC that can give teams fits the second time through the schedule.

“Elmwood is pretty good. They took a set from us,” Vorst said. “(Coach) Krissy (Lotycz) has them doing something different and she has a game plan, I’ll put it that way. (6-2 hitter Brooklyn) Thrash played very well against us. They have some athletes there and she is a good coach. She has a good volleyball IQ. She is doing a good job with those kids. She did a good job at Fostoria and now she’s doing a good job at Elmwood.”








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