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The Lakeland College men's volleyball team won the consolation championship at the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference tournament this weekend, after going 0-3 in pool play.
The Muskies (20-19, 6-7 WVC) lost their first two matches on Friday night and went 2-2 on Saturday en route to their fifth-place finish.
On the first day of pool play Lakeland lost to UW-Whitewater in three games, 2-1 (25-15, 18-25, 12-15) and then lost to Marquette in three games, 2-1 (22-25, 25-22, 12-15).
"Our inexperience and young lineup really showed," said Lakeland head coach Joe Julkowski. "There seemed to be something else on our minds and we couldn't control the tempo of the game. We didn't pass well and thus weren't able to stay in system throughout the games."
On the second day, the Muskies finished pool play with a loss to UW-Oshkosh, 2-0 (17-25, 16-25). Lakeland faced UW-LaCrosse in the first round of the playoffs, losing in two sets, 2-0 (22-25, 23-25). With the loss the Muskies found themselves in the consolation bracket.
In the consolation semifinals, Lakeland defeated UW-Platteville in two sets, 2-0 (25-16, 25-19). In the consolation finals, the Muskies got revenge, defeating UW-Whitewater in two sets, 2-0 (25-18, 27-25).
"The guys didn't bring the same game we all saw against Indiana last weekend," said Julkowski. "It shouldn't matter who we are playing, we need to bring our best game every night. Consistency has haunted us all season and if this level of play we are currently at persists, we will not have a great national tournament. I don't want to hear excuses about us being a young team because I really think they can be a top level team at this age. The guys are really enjoying the game when they play well but also beat themselves up about the losses. If we lose giving 100 percent effort and focus, it is not a loss in my book. We make mental mistakes early and we aren't able to get over it. I believe in this team and know what we need to do to be successful. I just hope they are willing to put in the work."
While the play on the court wasn't what the Muskies expected, many of Lakeland's athletes were honored with WVC postseason awards.
Freshman Alec Redlich (Wauwatosa, Wis.) was named WVC first team All-Conference, as well as newcomer of the year. The 6-foot-1 outside hitter was also awarded for most kills per set and most service aces per set.
Fellow freshman Dayton Erickson (Trevor, Wis.) was named WVC All-Conference honorable mention. The 5-foot-11 setter also received an award for most assists per set.
Seniors Dan Sheets-Poling (Plainfield, Ill.) and Andy Cheever (Greenfield, Wis.) were both named to the All-Scholar athlete team, with Sheets-Poling being named Scholar Athlete of the Year.
Cheever received first team All-Conference honors as well as WVC Libero of the Year. He also received an award for most digs per set.
Lakeland returns to action April 5-7, as the Muskies travel to Kansas City, Mo., to take part in the National Collegiate Volleyball Federation National Championships. Opponents and times will be announced later this week.