Bulldogs all smiles after sweep

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lake Mills juniors Carlie Christianson, right, and Kelci Larson, left, show excitement after winning Game 2. -- Andrew Dyrdal

LAKE MILLS, Iowa — Despite a glimmering 42-0 season record, Lake Mills volleyball coach Jim Boehmer considers the Bulldogs far from perfect.

He changed his mind Tuesday — for one game at least.

The Bulldogs dominated offensively and handed West Fork, a team looking for its 30th win of the season, a crushing defeat in the Class 2A Region 6 quarterfinals.

“Wow,” Boehmer said. “I was extremely pleased. We didn’t have a good practice Monday, and maybe I hope we don’t have a good practice Thursday either.”

The Bulldogs face rival Forest City in the tournament’s semifinals Friday in Manly, Iowa.

While Lake Mills has won 96 of 98 sets this season and climbed to the No. 2 ranking in the state, Boehmer has stuck to the same metaphor — the Bulldogs are an A-minus student pushing for an A. With a 25-12, 25-12, 25-13 sweep of West Fork, they finally earned it.

“We were an A tonight,” Boehmer said. “Certainly that analogy works but when it’s tournament time you’re only as good as our last match.”

Senior hitters Josie Brackey and Shelby Kuper led a fast-paced offense and met little resistance from West Fork on the left side of the court. Brackey led the team with 21 kills in 30 attempts, and Kuper added eight kills.

Boehmer said he was pleased with the team’s tempo and that all five hitters kept West Fork on their heels. Brackey scored most of her kills crosscourt while Kuper went down the line for hers.

“That’s tough to defend,” Boehmer said. “Where do you go play Lake Mills? That’s the tough thing.”

After Lake Mills’ Kelci Larson led off the match with a service error, Brackey and the Bulldogs went on a tear. The senior, who has recorded 376 kills this season, notched five kills over the first seven points as the Bulldogs went up 7-3 and eventually 14-6. Back-to-back kills by Kuper and Catherine Adams gave the Bulldogs the 25-12 win.

West Fork (27-10) got off to a better start in Game 2 and only trailed 14-10 after a kill from Taylor Twedt. The Bulldogs then scored 11 of the next 13 points, including six unanswered, for a 25-12 win.

By Game 3, the Bulldogs had beat up West Fork mentally and the Warhawks played with little enthusiasm in a 25-13 loss.

Boehmer was pleased the Bulldogs didn’t relent late in the match despite West Fork’s low energy level.

“I liked that our girls were still running, playing hard and having fun,” Boehmer said. “It was one of those matches where they were almost disappointed it was over.

“Of course they were happy they won but they wanted to play and keep playing. The kids were fired up and enthusiastic and that comes from playing together now for a full year.”

The Bulldogs are one game away from the regional finals and play at 7 p.m. Friday against Forest City (27-12). Lake Mills has beaten the Indians three times this season.

Lake Mills def. West Fork 25-12, 25-12, 25-13

Lake Mills stats: Morgan Fjelstad 3 kills, 32 set assists, 1 service ace, 12-12 serving, 6 digs, 12 points; Carlie Christianson 1 kill, 3 set assists, 14-14 serving, 6 digs, 6 ace blocks, 15 points; Josie Brackey 21 kills, 1 service ace, 13-14, serving, 7 digs, 15 points; Shelby Kuper 8 kills, 2 digs; Kelci Larson 3 kills, 1 service ace, 11-11 serving, 5 digs, 2 ace blocks, 13 points; Catherine Adams 5 kills, 1 service ace, 7-9 serving, 4 digs, 4 ace blocks; 10 points; Hallie Erdahl 10-11 serving, 5 digs, 9 points; Mac Baumann 1-1 serving, 1 dig; Sara Hengesteg 1-1 serving, 1 dig.

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