CALUMET - Both the Calumet and Lake Linden-Hubbell volleyball teams were missing key starters Thursday in their penultimate regular season games. The Copper Kings were without senior setter Kayleen Anderon for the second straight match and the Lakes missed senior middle hitter Mandy Perreault due to a concussion.
Calumet's superior depth made the difference.
Normally a right side hitter, senior Molly Loukus managed the setting duties with Anderson sidelined and kept the Calumet offense chugging along virtually unimpeded as the Copper Kings ousted Lake Linden 3-0 (25-18, 25-20, 25-18).
Calumet’s Meghan Westcott receives a serve Thursday against Lake Linden-Hubbell as libero Terra Erkkila looks on. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
"We aren't running a quick offense right now but I just told her to keep doing what she was comfortable with," Calumet coach Lisa Twardzik said. "We were good with that."
As a jack-of-all-trades utility player, Loukus was most comfortable with the high, outside set that she often would perform in matches with Anderson present.
As a result, outside hitters Kristy Lasanen and Lexie Rowe were given a plethora of opportunities.
They took advantage.
Lasanen led all hitters with 14 kills, while Rowe finished with 10.
The sophomore Rowe kicked the offense off with five booming kills in the first set and Lasanen led the team to victory in the second with five of her own.
"(Loukus) is confident with the outside set because that is what she does as utility," Twardzik said. "And as the match went on she was just getting braver and decided to attack the middle a bit more. (Rowe) has grown into a powerful and consistent hitter as a sophomore, absolutely."
As Loukus grew more comfortable, she was able to set middle hitter Ellen Twardzik more, and the sophomore finished with eight kills, five of which came in the third set.
Libero Terra Erkkila - who led Calumet with 16 digs - had plenty to do with that, passing to Loukus (29 assists) with accuracy to make the senior more comfortable out of her normal position.
"Oh yeah, when she can stand and target she has set that ball a lot," Twardzik said. "That makes a big difference."
For Lake Linden, senior Brittni Kisul kept the Lakes in each set with a superb all-around effort.
Kisul led LL-H in kills (nine), block kills (three), blocks (seven) and digs (14).
"Brittni Kisul made a difference in this game," Lakes coach Karen Keranen said.
"She was everywhere. Defensively, serving, blocking. Just a complete performance."
Lake Linden-Hubbell will finish the regular season against Ewen-Trout Creek Thursday and Calumet will face off with Hancock Tuesday.