High school volleyball: Lakeland wins over Winter Springs 3-2, advances to regional semis

Lakeland's Carissa Michel competes in a Class 6A regional quarterfinal at Lakeland High School. The Dreadnaughts won 3-2 and advanced to the semifinals.
Lakeland's Carissa Michel competes in a Class 6A regional quarterfinal at Lakeland High School. The Dreadnaughts won 3-2 and advanced to the semifinals.

LAKELAND — It all came down to the final set in the Class 6A regional quarterfinal Wednesday at Lakeland High School.

The score was tied 2-2 before all-county senior Carissa Michel served. This led to the first point of the set and a 3-1 run for Lakeland. The Dreadnaughts then got out to an 8-5 lead before Michel connected with the roll shot to make the score 11-10 Lakeland.

A few plays later, sophomore outside-hitter Caroline Mank set up junior outside-hitter Erin Miller for the eventual overpowering spike and kill, the final point, giving Lakeland the match, 25-21, 25-18, 17-25, 23-25, 15-13, in the Class 6A, Region 2 quarterfinals.

This is the fourth time in nine years Lakeland head coach Dayna Sechrest has advanced to the regional semifinals.

Michel racked up 24 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and six aces and Miller produced 19 kills, nine digs, two blocks and three aces. Mank had 19 assists, seven digs and three blocks, while sophomore setter Kirra Lindsey put up 21 assists, nine digs and an ace.

“So emotional — so many emotional highs and lows in that game,” Sechrest said. "We were trying to talk to them about taking care of our fundamentals. We got to start it off with our serve-receive. That’s going to set us up for success and our failure. (We) really started to tighten it up and follow through with instructions, as well as we got to go clean up our blocks. … We had some girls that went in there and battled. We just stayed very scrappy. They were going in there and making the extra effort to make the extra saves.”

It took that extra effort against a Winter Springs team that fully intended to win and move on. In the fourth set, the Bears rebounded after getting down 3-0 early. But like all game, senior middle-blocker Asia Magazine kept her team in it with her force. It was Magazine who spiked for a score to make it 5-5, which led to a 10-6 run by Winter Springs.

Winter Springs eventually got up 14-9 thanks to Magazine and senior outside-hitter Lauren Klingenberg — two future Division I players — and while Michel made it close thanks to her matching force to make the score 24-23 Winter Springs, the Bears were able to stave off a comeback by the Dreadnaughts and a fourth set victory.

“Both of them (Magazine and Klingenberg) did a great job off the outside and the right side. They showed a lot of leadership tonight,’ seventh-year head coach Winter Springs head coach Jennifer Mallard, a former UNC Wilmington volleyball player, said. “Really just proud of that effort and their growth from freshman until now. They both been varsity this whole time, but just incredible young ladies as they’re now about to graduate high school.”

Magazine tallied 22 kills, four aces and 14 digs, while Klingenberg put up 10 kills.

It was this kind of production that needed to match with Lakeland, the No. 11 team in Class 6A.

Just like the final set, Michel got things started on her serve to go up 1-0 in the first set.

But then No. 15 Winter Springs went on a 6-1 run highlighted by Klingenberg’s powerful spike. And a Lakeland roll shot hit the net and that gave Winter Springs an 8-7 lead.

Still, Lakeland stayed focused and went on a 9-1 run following a Miller spike. The Dreadnaughts would never relinquish the lead after that and won the set.

Mirror images on how the Dreadnaughts and Bears won their respective sets was the theme.

And in the end, it was all about Michel moving to the backline and the Bears getting behind because they couldn’t catch up to the aggressive serving, which for the last point was from senior outside-hitter Kate Marshall. Overall, there was some aggressive digs and serve-receive from the Lakeland bench that catupulted the group over the top.

Up next for the Dreadnaughts will be the semifinals and a date with Viera, the No. 8 team in 6A.

This article originally appeared on The Ledger: high school volleyball