Maybe this win will force teams to start taking the Cougars seriously. The Lakeville South (#6, 3A) volleyball team went into Tuesday night’s match against Bloomington Jefferson (#3, 3A) hoping to just need three games to put away their opponent. They needed four.
The Cougars have had a hard time, as of late, shutting the door on conference opponents. Just a week ago, Lakeville South met up with Prior Lake and danced back and forth with the Lakers in game three before finally deciding they wanted to win.
Tuesday night, Lakeville South didn’t dance; they just simply surrendered leads and somehow found a way to get to 25 first.
“I think a lot of it is mental,” explains Lakeville South Head Coach Jenn Nelson, “We talk about playing to 30, not to 25, but playing to 30. You gotta keep pushing through.”
Coach Nelson says it is something that they’ll be working on with the playoffs less than two weeks away.
The Jaguars jumped out to a one-nothing lead with a 27-25 win in game one. A game where the Cougars squandered several leads.
After that, Lakeville South found a rhythm. Finding a sense of urgency the Cougars took to it in game two coming out with a 25-20 win. A team that prides itself on doing the fundamentals well, stumbled through them at various points. But a strong team overcomes such adversity and that’s what they did.
The Cougars have fought with the state rankings all season. Having tabbed more wins than anyone else in the top ten and having their only loss come on the road facing Lakeville North (#2, 3A). The Cougars took the Panthers to five games in that match, as well. Labeled as a good team that plays a weaker schedule the Cougars knew that a win Tuesday night would help legitimize their place in the top 10.
Game three was all Monica Turner. With the bulk of her 14 kills coming in a 25-17 win. Early on the Jaguars found ways to key in on Turner and keep her net play under control. But with McKell Anderson and Jazzmyn Tingelhoff coming into their own in game three, that opened up Turner.
Game four was Turner’s as well, almost single handedly motivating her team to the win. Despite some great net play from the Jaguar’s Eliza Zachary that nullified Turner at points throughout the match, including the final game. Even though they almost surrendered several five point leads, the Cougars managed to hold on for a 25-21 win, taking the match 3-1.
“We can take the confidence from tonight,” says Coach Nelson, “But then we got to go back to work because we’re going to see these guys again. It’s hard to beat a good team twice.”
That next time will most likely be in the section playoffs.
The Cougars improve to 21-1 on the season and will face Bloomington Kennedy Thursday.
The Jaguars drop to 16-4 and will head to Lakeville North Thursday (KRDS – 6:45/7:00).
By Kyle Zander