PORTAGE — A quick scan of La Porte’s volleyball roster shows a mix of experience and youth with all four grade levels represented.
Barely a couple weeks into the season, the ingredients have blended for success.
“We work together well,” senior Kara Cooper said. “There’s no drama. We all get along.”
It showed again Tuesday as the Slicers dispatched Portage 25-15, 25-20, 25-12.
“There’s always a level of expectation,” coach Cassie Holmquest said. “It’s just a matter of following through. The seniors have been exceptional leaders. They show up and play every game, which is a big deal because the younger kids are going to follow what they do. If they get down, the younger kids are gooing to get down as well, and that hasn’t happened this year. They’re doing what they have to do to be successful at this point.”
The potent senior combination of the 5-foot-10 Reilly Briggs and the 6-3 Cooper carried the Slicers offensively with 20 kills between them as La Porte (9-0, 3-0 Duneland Athletic Conference), save for the heat and humidity in the gym, didn’t have to work up much of a sweat outside of game two.
“Every time we got out of system, we were able to regroup,” Briggs said. “Everyone plays hard at their position. We’re like a big family.”
If the Slicers are a family, Lesley Marshall is one of the little sisters. She and fellow freshman Aniya Kennedy both are significant contributors. Kennedy, a 6-foot middle, connected on five kills and Marshall, a defensive specialst, served five of La Porte’s 12 aces.
“It’s just fun to play with everybody,” Marshall said. “We just keep the pressure on and stay as a team.”
“In the summer, they impressed us with their play,” Holmquest said of the newcomers. “That’s why we put them on varsity. Again, it’s a matter of them following through. They’ve really done what we do in practice, what we talk about.”
La Porte also picked up eight blocks in the match to keep Portage from getting its attack on track.
“Their middle (Portage’s Nyah Spencer) is pretty good,” Holmquest said. “We’ve been pretty strong blocking. We try to get a block a set, which is three total (for three games), so eight’s pretty good. We had a few more errors than normal, we’ve served pretty well. We let them back in it a little bit (in game two), but we stayed strong, I thought we we stayed pretty consistent throughout.”
Next up for LP is a battle of unbeatens with county rival Michigan City on Thursday at Slicer Gym.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Holmquest said. “We haven’t been home in a while. Michigan City’s always a good game. They’re always fun to play.”