Mosinee may have knocked visiting Lakeland out of the WIAA girls’ volleyball playoffs on Tuesday night, but in order to do so the Indians had to withstand getting knocked around themselves a bit by the Thunderbirds.

“Our team was throwing Mosinee out of system most of the night,” Lakeland head coach Carley Punzel said about her teams effort in a 12-25,19-25, 9-25 loss in Mosinee.

In the first two games the Thunderbirds battled right with the Indians, even forcing Mosinee to take a timeout in the first match, to regroup, because Lakeland found a chink in their armor. 

“As a team we figured out what their weak points were last night. With Mosinee being such a high level team, I believe they did not see that coming,” Punzel said.

In the second set the Thunderbirds were firing at all cylinders and it was visibly frustrating the Indians.

“The second match of the night was one I will not forget,” Punzel said. “The girls were hitting where they (Mosinee) weren’t. My girls were picking up their hits left and right. It started to frustrate the other team, coach, and even the crowd.”

Punzel credits her captains for inspiring that fight against powerhouse Mosinee.

“Mel Bruckner and Camille Quade led our team last night not only with their skill but their voices. They were wonderful,” Punzel said.

Both captains led Lakeland in kills. Bruckner had seven and Quade had five. Setting them up was Ashley Marquardt, who contributed 15 assists, and Abby Parris, who added seven digs.

The final game was the only one Mosinee was able to fully dominate as they took the third match 25-9.

But despite the loss, the fact that the T-Birds were able to give Mosinee fits showed coach Punzel this team’s performance was a turning point for the program, because it’s been years since they were able to do so.

“As a team, Lakeland has changed for the better,” Punzel said. “We told our team that they started a legacy.”

Lakeland finishes the season 8-27 overall and 2-10 in the Great Northern Conference.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.