Not all fun and games for Lakers' volleyball

Today, sports stop being about having fun before most kids hit double digits. They quickly convert into the Vince Lombardi mentality of “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Not so for the Mercyhurst College volleyball team.

During every match, an abundance of smiles, laughs and cheering can be found on the Lakers’ side of the net. In fact, keeping a lighter mood than most would expect actually helps the team win.

“Having fun on the court or on the bench is just as key to a victory as digging a pass or serving an ace,” said freshman Amanda Balasko, who posted 13 kills over two matches last weekend.

Senior setter Julia Butler, who had 89 assists over the weekend, agreed with Balasko, but also stressed that it’s not all fun and games for the team.

“Between points we come together in the middle of the court and maybe we make a funny jab about something random or just give a pat on the back, but as soon as we disperse, our heads are directly back in the game and we’re focused,” she said.

While some coaches may prefer a different, more serious style of play, none can argue with the results the Lakers are having.

Mercyhurst has posted a 7-3 record this year, including a 2-1 mark during the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference / West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Crossover Tournament they hosted last week.

With the majority of the season yet to be played, the players are confident that the Lakers will turn heads in the PSAC.

“I think there is going to be a lot of competition this year in our conference, but we all have high expectations for our team,” sophomore Chantal Haase said.

Butler, one of only two seniors on the team, compared this year’s team to that of last year.

“We have a lot more depth and variety, and I feel like we are going to shock a lot of people with our play this year, offensively and defensively,” she said.

With a wealth of skill and dedication, the Lakers are determined to make an impression on the PSAC many teams won’t soon forget.