AUBURN HILLS >> The Waterford Our Lady Of the Lakes Lakers and Auburn Hills Oakland Christian Lancers faced off in the district volleyball finals yet again, and for the third year in a row, the Lakers knocked the Lancers out of the playoffs and claimed the Division 4 district title. This year’s match up was a close three set affair 25-23,25-23, and 25-23.
“I’m so proud of my team. All three years, I’m so happy to be a part of the team,” junior captain Alexis Koenig said.
The Lancers came out fast in the opening game, racing to a 4-0 lead. But once Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes got going and got the lead, the lead, the Lancers could never really get control of the game again, though they would lead briefly as late as 16-14. But a big serving run with Nicolette Hynsi back, including a pair of aces, would give the Lakers a 22-16 lead, and the Lakers would never trail after that.
Oakland Christian was excellent defensively all night. Led by 21 digs from Micah Tyson and 13 digs by libero Hailee Ide, the Lancers made the Lakers work for every point they got.
But the Lakers were able to do just that, especially once Koenig started heating up midway through the second game. After a quiet first game where she only registered only three kills, Koenig started to find the range. And from then on, whenever the Lakers needed a big kill, they went to her. Most of the time, she delivered.
“She is such a tremendous athlete, and she is going to do her very best. If the set isn’t perfect, she’s going to get her body to the ball and swing hard. And I love that about her that she doesn’t play it safe. She’s going to go big, and she’s going to get it done for us,” Lakers head coach Stephanie Swearingen said.
Koenig would finish with 21 kills for the night, including putting away the second game with a change up shot and then starting the Lakers off with a big lead in the third game as she had kills on four of the first five points, helping the Lakers race to a 5-0 lead to start the third game.
The Lancers battled back all night, and they spread the kills around, being led by nine kills from Kaylee Page. But in each game, Oakland Christian could not find the one or two big plays they needed at the end of the game.
“It was 25-23 all three sets, and they scored the last two, I think in every set,” Lancers head coach Dan Wilson said. “It’s pretty painful. Our girls expected to go deeper into the tournament this year, and this is super disappointing for all of us.”
Waterford Our Lady moves on to regional play next week.
“I think it was just a big team effort,” Swearingen said. “I haven’t even looked to the future yet. I don’t even know who our options of playing are even. We just had to get through the day, and we’re playing it day by day.” She added that, “I’m just so proud of the team and how we’ve really come together. I think now that it’s an elimination game, these girls are competitors, and they are just bringing everything they can to the game, and it’s so wonderful to see.”