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The Lakeland College women's volleyball team began its Northern Athletics Conference schedule on the right foot on Tuesday night, defeating Edgewood College, 3-0.
"We came out with a lot of energy and connected well throughout the match," said senior middle hitter Shelly Bruni, who tallied a team-high 11 kills on .556 hitting in the victory. "It's always good to have a win under your belt early on."
The Muskies (2-3, 1-0 NAC) also received strong offensive contributions from senior outside hitter Ashley Domask, junior right side hitter Heidi Kramer, sophomore outside hitter Brittanie Paulus and sophomore middle hitter Kim Linger, who each tallied eight kills apiece.
"Everyone put forth a solid effort and the bench contributed as well tonight," said assistant coach Sarah Dehring, who acted as head coach in place of the absent Chad Schreiber. "Overall I thought they played really well because Edgewood never gave up. They had to keep their play elevated all three games."
The Muskies (2-3, 1-0 NAC) took the first two games fairly easily, 30-13, 30-18, but the Eagles made things close in game three that saw both teams tied at seven points in the early going. However, Lakeland was able to hang on to take the game, 30-26.
"I put in a different line-up in the third game," Dehring said. "I thought they worked through the highs and lows fairly well. The energy level went up and down tonight, but at times the flow of the game was so choppy that it's hard to expect that."
Bruni cited the Muskies' bench as a key element in helping the squad re-gain control of the third game.
"Having our bench cheering us on helped us come back," she said. "We needed to talk more, and once we did that we were able to get back to the level of energy we had earlier."
On the defensive end, the Muskies were led by sophomore defensive specialist Tonia Strebelinski, who tallied an impressive 24 digs. Paulus also aided the squad on in the backcourt, pouring in 12 digs, while Domask added seven.
The Muskies will continue NAC play with a tough Concordia University, Wis., squad on Thursday, Sept. 13.
"We don't have the greatest history of playing well at Concordia," Bruni said. "Hopefully that will give us the motivation to be competitive early and push ourselves right from the beginning."
Match time is set for 7 p.m. in Mequon, Wis.