Gosche, Lakota overpower Lake

Lakota vs Lake 10/28/09
Lakota’s Mackenzie Brewer celebrates her team’s victory over Lake. (Photo: Aaron

PERRYSBURG — Lakota’s volleyball team didn’t even win 10 matches last season.
Just 12 months later, the Raiders have a 20-win season and are playing for a district championship.
They played well overall Wednesday night en route to a 25-20, 25-18, 25-8 win over Lake in the semifinals
of the Division III district tournament at Perrysburg High School.
Lakota, 20-4, faces Otsego (21-3) for the district championship and a berth in next week’s regional
tournament Saturday night at 6. [SEE

Otsego was a 25-23, 25-11, 25-19 winner over Genoa in Wednesday’s second match.
“I didn’t think we’d win 20 games, but I knew 15 was in the ballpark and that’s what we were shooting
for,” Lakota coach Brent Newell said.
The Raiders were 9-16 last season, despite advancing to the district semifinals. With 11 letter winners
returning, Lakota set bigger goals this season.
Lakota has won seven straight matches, including a five-game win Oct. 13 at New Riegel, the state’s
sixth-ranked team in Division IV.
The Raiders, who avenged a five-game loss to Lake Sept. 8, were 11-3 in the Midland Athletic League.
“It’s been a tremendous year,” said Newell, who is in his second season.
“It’s been a team effort. Everyone’s contributed,” said Raider junior Amy Gosche, who was the best player
in the match. The 6-foot junior had 13 kills, nine digs and four aces.
Lake finished 14-12.
“The team has done a great job all year,” Lake coach Melissa Conley said, adding the team was in the
district semifinals for the first time since 1998. “I’m very proud of them.”
The Raiders scored six straight points to pull away from a 10-10 tie in Game 1, with Gosche recording
three kills during the run. Lakota led by as much as 23-14 before Lake closed to within 24-20. But an
off-speed kill by Gosche ended the game.
The Flyers then opened Game 2 with a 6-0 lead, which included a kill and an ace by McKenzie Whiteman.
Lake eventually led 13-7, but Lakota rallied for 10 straight points to go ahead for good at 17-13 lead.
Gosche had four kills during the run.
“Coach always says when we’re down, someone needs to step up. I thought it was a pretty good time to do
that,” Gosche said.
Game 3 was all Lakota, which scored 20 of the match’s final 26 points.
Gosche was unstoppable as she hit rockets on every swing. Lake had blockers in front of Gosche, but her
power enabled her to hit through the blocks or her balls ricocheted out of bounds off the blockers.
“She’s definitely our go-to player. There’s no question or secret about it,” Newell said. “If she plays
well, we play well.”
“She single-handedly killed us,” said Conley, whose team has just three seniors.
But Gosche had ample help.
Jessica Hoffman also played well for Lakota 13 kills and eight digs, while Emily Hagen had 19 assists and
Olivia Frantz had 16 assists.
Hannah Podach had 12 digs, and Frantz and Rachel Hoffman each had seven digs. Hagen had two blocks.
“We played very well, except for that stretch at the end of the first game and the start of the second
game,” Newell said. “We were sloppy. We hit four or five balls out of bounds and we were out of position
defensively. We just had to keep the ball in play. We made a nice comeback in the third game.”
Next up for the Raiders is Otsego, which advanced to the district final last season.
“I knew it was realistic that we could get this far when the brackets came out,” Newell said. “We wanted
to be in the bracket opposite Otsego and we talked about playing Otsego in the district final two months
ago. Our goal is to make a long run in the tournament.”