The Lake Mills volleyball team has been waiting quite awhile for a night like Thursday.
Not only did the Bulldogs earn a convincing victory over Garner-Hayfield-Ventura (GHV), but the team had its whole starting lineup back on the floor for the first time since Sept. 3.
On their third day of competition since a two-week COVID-19 induced layoff, the Bulldogs looked like a team with plenty of talent, and just a little bit of rust to shake off. Lake Mills swept GHV in straight sets, by scores of 25-22, 25-19, and 25-16, as the Bulldogs improved to 12-3 on the season.
Senior Kylie Greenfield led the team with 12 kills on the night, while junior setter Leah Moen finished with a team-high 22 assists and six digs. With the victory, the team improved its perfect conference record to 6-0. The Bulldogs and Forest City are currently tied atop the Top of Iowa West standings.
“I’m feeling good,” Greenfield said. “We are staying motivated to keep our conference champs title, and our tradition with that, and really focusing on pushing ourselves to get into the postseason. We want to get farther than we have in the past couple years.”
Lake Mills has won the conference championship in 17 of the past 18 seasons, but hasn’t made it to the state tournament since 2012. For Greenfield, who has led the team in scoring each of the past three seasons, a state tournament appearance is just about the only thing left to check off the list.
“I’m definitely hungry for it,” Greenfield said. “This is my senior season, and I want to leave everything out on the court. I want to be at the top, and I want all the seniors to leave a mark on this program.”
But on Thursday night, the focus was just on getting the band back together. After three weeks without the starting lineup, head coach Jim Boehmer was thrilled to finally get to employ his full arsenal.
The team is made up of a wide range of experience, with three seniors, five juniors, and three sophomore players seeing the floor on Thursday. While the two-week break was obviously not ideal, it gave Boehmer a chance to play plenty of young players who might not have seen the floor in a regular year.
"I really like our depth, and I like how we've grown our depth," Boehmer said. "Sometimes, it was because we had to, because of COVID. We've been missing kids for three weeks now. We've had to build depth. I'm very proud of that, probably even more so than being 12-3, and no losses to anybody less than a 3A team."
"That is great and all, but it's just great to see the depth develop in that situation."
Lake Mills will play Norwalk and Carlisle on Saturday in the Nevada Tournament.
Shane Lantz covers sports for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Shane.Lantz@GlobeGazette.com, or by phone at 641-421-0526. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneMLantz.
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