Oakville volleyball team overcomes adversity on way to a winning season

By STEPHEN GLOVER

Before the 2009 season had even started for the Oakville Senior High School girls’ volleyball team, the Tigers were dealing with adversity.

During the team’s warmup drill against Fox, senior middle hitter Sam Haegele tore her anterior cruciate ligament as well as her medial collateral ligament and her meniscus, which left a sickening feeling throughout the gym.

For head coach Morgan Lucas, it meant taking the Tigers and reworking a lineup that was missing one of the area’s best middle hitters.

“That was pretty devastating,” Oakville head coach Morgan Lucas said. “But we’ve been running a couple different lineups and I think we’re doing pretty well.”

“Pretty well” would appear to be a slight understatement as the Tigers are 17-5-3 and 4-2 in Suburban West Conference play, including last week’s 25-7, 25-17 victory over Notre Dame at home.

“Notre Dame is having a bit of a down year, but their kids play hard during every point,” Lucas said. “We got some of our kids some playing time that normally don’t have the chance to get in the game. So it was a good game for us.”

Senior setter Emma Brydels led the Tigers Oct. 7 with 12 attacks, five kills, three assists, two blocks and two aces.

“Emma’s done a great job running our offense this season,” Lucas said. “She puts up a good block and has been one of our steady players this year.”

Senior setter Kristen Steinmeyer led the Tigers with a total of eight assists while racking up one attack and one ace.

“Kristen’s also been doing a great job,” Lucas said. “She plays great defense and does a really good job getting the ball over to our key hitters.”

Senior right-side hitter Lexi Cibulka also had a solid evening with seven attacks, four kills and two blocks.

“We give Emma and Lexi the ball the most on our team,” Lucas said. “She’s really our spark plug on the court and on the bench and is just a great kid to coach.”

The Tigers return to action at 5 p.m. today — Oct. 15 — when they travel to Mehlville (11-10-1, 1-4-0 Suburban West).

“It doesn’t matter what the caliber of any team at Oakville or Mehlville because both are going to come ready to play for this game,” Lucas said. “I think that Mehlville’s record is a little deceptive because they’ve proven this season that they can beat anybody.”