Lakers regional champs

The Shell Lake volleyball team earned a first-place finish in the regional playoff finals with a 4-1 win over Washburn on Saturday, Oct. 21, in Washburn. The team will advance to the semifinal sectional tournament where they will face Mercer on Thursday, Oct. 26, at Northwood High School in Minong. Shown back row (L to R): Coach Amy Skattebo, Sydney Schunk, Grace Thomas, Natalie Jury, Addy Schroeder, Brianna Williams, Anna Mikula, Cassie Skattebo, Maddy Flach and Ashtyn Smith. Front: Senior players Kaitlyn Harraghy, Grace Anderson and Arianna Schreiber. — Photo submitted

Larry Samson | Staff writer

WASHBURN—The Shell Lake High School girls volleyball team advanced to the last round of sectionals for Division 4 with a 4-1 win over Washburn in Washburn on Saturday, Oct. 21. With the win over Washburn, the Lakers earned a regional championship in their first year with coach Amy Skattebo. Skattebo has inspired the players to believe in themselves and to strive to be the best that they can be.

To get to the finals, Shell Lake beat Winter in three games on Tuesday, Oct. 17, and Siren in three games on Thursday, Oct. 19. For the final game the Lakers made the long trip to Washburn.

Shell Lake started out slow against Washburn, losing the first game 23-25. The Lakers trailed in the first game but rallied to tie up the game 23-23 with some good serving by Grace Anderson. Then Washburn’s No. 1 server, Arabella Bouchard, finished the game off for Washburn.

The momentum swung Shell Lake’s way in the second game as Kaitlyn Harraghy went to the serving line with a 4-3 lead and finished her series with a Laker 13-3 lead. The game went point for point after that as the Lakers kept their lead with some fine serving from Maddy Flach and Anna Mikula dominating the net. Mikula had six kills at the net with only one error as Shell Lake took the second game 25-14.

 In the third match, Washburn took a 13-4 lead as the Lakers fought hard to stay in the game. What happened next was truly amazing as Shell Lake rallied back 18-22. Flach came to the serving line and the Lakers pulled ahead to win 25-22. Coach Skattebo summed it up, “Then, simple heart, determination and fundamental volleyball from Shell Lake kicked in an amazing rally comeback.”

In the fourth and final match, the momentum Shell Lake had built up carried into the match. The small Washburn gym reverberated with the cheers from both sides as Shell Lake won 25-19 to win the championship.

That final match was a Lakers team effort. Ashtyn Smith is credited with 10 digs followed by Mikula with 9. The Lakers kept the ball off the floor with the help of Harraghy, Arianna Schreiber and Flach. Mikula and Skattebo dominated the net and frustrated the Washburn offense.

In summing up the game Coach Skattebo had this to say, “There aren’t many words that describe the emotions that emerged from most of the girls. This has been our number 3 goal for the season.  I am so proud of this team; it truly was a team effort with everyone contributing her own strengths to the team unit. In the words of Maddy Flach, We’re a family!”