Two days after a tough battle with Class B No. 5 Seward, Lakeview volleyball returned to the court Saturday at the Shamrock Invite in town at Scotus Central Catholic.
Lakeview went 2-1 on the day, dropping the opener to the hosts before bouncing back with wins over Norfolk Catholic and Twin River. Winning two out of three earned a fifth-place finish and left the Lady Vikes 2-2 as the season rolls into its second week.
The Lady Vikes had their moments, but overall coach K.C. Belitz left somewhat concerned about a general lack of energy on the court. Whether it was the home crowd, the anticipation of the first match or some other elements, he said there was a different feel to the team than on Thursday.
“The coaching staff felt like it was a little bit of a step back from how we played Thursday, all day,” he said. “Just didn’t really have the same level of energy. That becomes a pretty important question to figure out.”
He said he suspects some of the explanation may have to do with the absence of middle hitter Ashley Behlen. The junior suffered an injury of some sort during warm ups on Thursday but played through some nagging pain. When she woke up Friday, Belitz said she could barely move.
Behlen was kept out of the lineup Saturday, replaced by Katee Korte, who performed up to or beyond expectations, Belitz said, due to the unusual circumstances.
Overall though, Behlen’s absence was noticeable.
“(Behlen) played well against Seward. That’s kind of the bottom line, but she’s also one of our emotional engines,” Belitz said.
“Katee Korte stepped into that role Saturday and did great. It’s not fair to qualify it, but for being a freshman and playing in her first extended varsity experience, she played really well and put up pretty good numbers.
“But Ashley is Ashley. She brings some emotion to the floor and the bench. I don’t know if that was it or not, but I felt we missed her fire on the floor a little bit.”
Lakeview opened with a 25-21, 25-16 loss to Scotus. Korte led offensively with four kills on 4 of 10 hitting. Mattie Purcell picked up eight digs and setter Reese Janssen assisted on 17 points.
Relegated to the consolation bracket, the Lakeview started play with a 25-17 win then a hard-fought 26-24 victory over Norfolk Catholic for a sweep.
Kaycee Grotelueschen hit .417 with six kills while Purcell had 18 digs, Abby Kapels had another 10, Janssen set up 16 assists and Emily Vancleave was 13 of 15 on serve receive.
The day concluded with a 25-19, 25-20 sweep of Twin River, seven kills and 10 digs from Kapels, 12 digs by Vancleave, 14 assists by Janssen and 13 for 15 on serve receive by Purcell.
“To end the day that way gave us a better feeling coming out and getting ready to prepare for this week,” Belitz said. “If you break down the matches individually, we got better offensively each match of the day, we served really well all day and we did what we had to do in those last two.”
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor for The Columbus Telegram. You can reach him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.