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2013 Volleyball Preview: Avon Lake Shoregals look to continue success
MORNING JOURNAL/JIM BOBEL Katie Mihalik, left, Lauren Bakaitis, center, and Katie Coughlin will lead the Avon Lake volleyball team.
Seniors Katie Mihalik and Lauren Bakaitis want to make sure the success continues.
The two seniors are the only ones on Avon Lake’s roster and are also four-year letter winners. It will be their leadership and experience which will help the Shoregals this season. Trying to win a Southwestern Conference championship for the third time in the row is what they are striving for.
“We have a lot of new girls,” Mihalik said. “It definitely will be a lot harder than it has been in past years. We’ll have to work a lot more.”
Knowing they have a target on its back for winning the SWC the past two years, Avon Lake is looking forward to the challenge.
“I think it gives us a little motivation to have that target on our back,” Bakaitis said. “It pushes us harder because we don’t want to be taken down. Even the girls who are new to the team this year want it just as bad as the girls who were here last year.”
Besides the two seniors, Avon Lake does return some experience with juniors Lauren Kollias, Alaina Sliwinski and Katie Coughlin. Sliwinski has the toughest task, replacing Whitney Craigo, who was a third-team All Ohio selection last season.
One of the biggest challenges Avon Lake faces is the lack of experience at the varsity level. With the two seniors leading them, the experience on the court along with some guidance will help them as the year progresses.
It is the new faces of Kaitlyn Applegate, Hanna Nicholas, Kay Butrey, Beccca Bartram and Devan Rybarczyk which Mihalik and Bakaitis will have to mentor and grow.
“The seniors have to use their experience they have had,” Avon Lake coach Dan Berkheimer said. “They (Mihalik and Bakaitis) are four-year letter winners. They have to use that experience and help the other kids ... bring them along and show them what it’s all about. Not just in matches, but in everyday practices.”
Establishing the goals of conference and having postseason success early on was what the two seniors devoted their attention to. They let it be known as well as reminding the underclassmen what last season was like and how it ended.
While there are goals the two seniors want to achieve in both conference and in the postseason, the duo knows what else they want to accomplish.
“We want to make our mark, but we still want to make sure the program is still building and it’s not going to drop off after we leave,” Mihalik said. “We want to make sure everyone on the court is a solid player.”
The Shoregals program has blossomed over the past couple of years and with players like Mahalik and Bakaitis mentoring the younger players; the program is bound to continue to have success.
“Just because a lot of starters left last year and we’re leaving next year, Avon Lake volleyball won’t end,” Bakaitis said. “In five years, I still want to hear about Avon Lake volleyball winning conferences and going to districts. It won’t end because of a couple of players.”
Last Updated: 9/7/2013 9:37:20 PM EST