A regular season of playing elite teams prepared Lakewood to look dominant at home on Thursday in the first round of the CIF Southern Section Division 2 playoffs. The Lancers came out determined and easily rolled to a 25-13, 25-13, 25-18 win over visiting Alemany.
“We’re really confident going into the playoffs,” Lakewood sophomore Laura Williams said. “We’re a lot better since the beginning of the year because of the season we’ve had.”
Lakewood (15-15) was led by freshman Samarah Da Coud’s game-high 13 kills, but freshman setter Fatimah Hall was able to feed a balanced attack with 28 assists. A total of 10 different Lancers recorded kills while Williams chipped in nine kills of her own.
“We’ve been intensifying our practices a little bit,” Lakewood coach Mike Wadley said. “We’ve changed our offense (since the Long Beach Poly game) and we’re playing faster and crisper like we did in the first two sets.”
Lakewood was able to take a 2-0 lead thanks to strong service from senior reserve Rachel Gonzales. She scored 4-0 runs in all three sets, and ended the second and third sets behind the line. Gonzales also had a pair of service aces.
“She’s another part of our special senior class,” Wadley said. “This has been our best senior class we’ve had. They’re all true leaders. They don’t complain and they’re here every day. She’s been in a serving role all year and she’s bought into it.”
Williams said Lakewood’s success has been a direct result of trusting each other because it’s tough when underclassman come in and take starting positions.
“This is a really accepting team,” Williams said. “We’ve built our chemistry with team bonding.”
Lakewood will host Beckman at 6 p.m. on Saturday for the second round.