First-year coach looking to turn Spartans’ volleyball program around

FELTON – Throughout the 2016 season, Lake Forest’s first-year volleyball head coach Alison Lauber and her varsity Spartans squad has shown vast improvements and only continues to progress.

In her first season coaching volleyball at the high school level, Coach Lauber has won six games with a relatively young volleyball team. With just two seniors on the squad, she’s managed to lead her team to a 6-8 season and has a shot at ending the season on a two-game winning streak if the team can pull off a victory over Sussex Tech in the final game of the season.

“Since it’s my first year at Lake Forest, I have been spending a lot of time getting to know the girls,” Coach Lauber said. “So it’s been a new experience for all of us, and we’ve been doing more and more bonding together as a team. We’ve been able to have a great relationship between the players and coaches. I feel like we have great team chemistry and great relationships both on and off the court.”

Though the Spartans have won each of the last two matches, and three of the last four, there has still been some growing pains during Coach Lauber’s debut season at the helm.

“The biggest adjustment for me, as coach, has been working with a different type of personality than what I was used to,” Coach Lauber said. “In high school, they’ve grown into their own, and already have their own morals and their own attitudes. So it’s been a little difficult in that regard, but it’s definitely a great experience for me because I love variety, I love volleyball and I love working with kids.”

Perhaps these growing pains were most evident went the Spartans went on a five-game losing streak from Oct. 6-18, winning just five sets during that span.

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Junior Riana Miller serves the ball for Lake Forest (The Journal/Ben Heck).

“We have definitely progressed throughout the season. They’ve shown their potential, but they’re not all the way there quite yet,” Coach Lauber said.

But the team responded well, snapping the losing streak with the back-to-back sweeps.

“I had coached with a younger age group, from about 12 years old to 16 years old, but this is my first experience working at the high school level with 16, 17 and 18 year olds. So it’s been a little bit of a different experience so far.”

Though she hasn’t been with them for very long, Coach Lauber thinks highly of this year’s varsity class, comprised of Faith Garey and Hailee Russum.

“I definitely have a lot of faith in them, and they have a great future as volleyball players if they want to continue to want to play the sport,” Coach Lauber said.

“Unfortunately I’m losing two, but most of my team are juniors and a few are sophomores. Everyone has grown up with each other in school and playing volleyball and softball together. So it will be great to have them all together again next year.”

Sports editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com

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