The Lakers are aiming to improve on last year’s .500 TRL mark
Breaking even will not be good enough for the Lake Oswego volleyball team this year.
The Lakers, under the leadership of new head coach Alex Hasenstab — she replaces Nikki Jones after three seasons — believe they have a chance to get into the black in Three Rivers League play in 2022.
“Last year we went (7-7 in TRL play) so … we want to actually win more games than we lose,” Hasenstab said. “If we’re able to get over that 50-50 point, that would be amazing.”
This year’s version of the Lakers will be led by senior setter/outside hitter Grace Wollmuth (5 feet, 11 inches and a first-team all-TRL selection a year ago), senior libero Bella Bovich (5-6 and an honorable mention pick from ‘21), senior middle hitter Vivi Kaelin, senior right side hitter/defensive specialist Claire Williams (5-7) and senior middle blocker Casey Moran (6-0).
“We have a few seniors who are offensive and defensive players so they’re going to play all-around which is really great,” Hasenstab said, citing Kaelin, Williams and Moran, while adding that Wollmuth will get more chances in the front row this year. “Claire Williams is playing right side and also in the back because she is our best defender right now statistically. And Grace is our setter, but she’ll also play offensively in the front row.”
Other returning players from last year’s varsity roster are senior setter Rachel Williams (5-7), junior Kennedy Othus (5-8), sophomore Monica Holder (5-6), senior Morgan Brown (5-6) and sophomore Gabby Troche (5-10).
Also ready for varsity time this year are junior Zoey Lingemann-Smith, junior Payton Cavagnaro, junior Cenaiya Billups and sophomore Emily Kitchin.
While the Lakers feature a solid core of varsity returners, LO will look different this year in Hasenstab’s new 6-2 set.
“That gives Grace the opportunity not to just be setter, but also the opportunity to hit,” Hasenstab said. “She’s very good in the front row so I’m excited that we have two setters that can play from the back row successfully.”
With Wollmuth and Rachel Williams sharing duties at setter, Hasenstab hopes her Lakers will be able to set the tone with their offense this year.
“We’ll have a different look from last year, just by speeding up on offense,” Hasenstab said. “Just becoming a faster and more threatening offense, I think it’s going to take us to the next level, and we’ve got the physical capability of doing that. We’re going to speed things up and be a threat.”
Regarding the coming league race — the Lakers host Oregon City at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, in their TRL opener — Hasenstab said she just wants her team to compete.
“I don’t know which teams have a lot of returning players and things can change so much from year to year at each school, but we are going to look at the teams we lost to last year, and I think there’s a desire to avenge our team,” she said. “Certainly I’m hoping … that’s the attitude coming from the returning players.”
You can see the preview for the Lakeridge volleyball team here.
You can see the preview for the West Linn volleyball team here.