The Prior Lake volleyball team’s playoff road was a short one.
The seventh-seeded Lakers couldn’t get out of the first round Oct. 23 in Section 2AAA play, losing in four sets at home to 10th-seeded Chanhassen (27-25, 25-23, 20-25, 25-22).
Prior Lake finished the season with an 11-18 overall record (4-5 in the South Suburban Conference). It’s the second straight losing season for the Lakers (14-16 last year) after the program won three straight Section 2AAA titles from 2015 to 2017.
It’s the first time Prior Lake has lost in the first round of the postseason since 2013 when the team fell to Waconia.
The Lakers went into the playoffs losing five of their last seven matches in the regular season. The team did beat No. 9-ranked Lakeville South in that span in the Bachman Invitational.
In the loss to Chanhassen, Prior Lake had two set points in the first set, but couldn’t put the Storm away. The Lakers used a 6-0 run to a take a 21-19 lead before Chanhassen rallied.
In set three, the Lakers used a 14-3 run to build a lead and hung on to win. But Chanhassen stopped Prior Lake’s momentum in set four to avoid a winner-take-all fifth set.
The Lakers will lose three seniors in Dezirae Spratt, Rachel Ring and Kate Heimel. Spratt was a four-year letterwinner and opened the season as one of the team’s outside hitters, before switching to defensive specialist.
Sophomore Julia Hanson led the Lakers going into the playoffs with 386 kills. She had 31 kills, 22 digs and two blocks in the loss to Chanhassen.
Last year, Hanson finished with a team-best 355 kills, so she has over 741 going into next year. Ella Francis is the program’s all-time leader in kills with 995, so Hanson could pass her next fall in her junior season.
Francis also holds the school record for kills in a season with 473 set in 2015. Hanson's 386 kills this fall are third most in a season at Prior Lake.
Ring went into the playoffs with 188 kills and added 21 more in the playoff loss. Junior Camille Libert finished the season with 130 kills, getting three versus Chanhassen.
Prior Lake will have three setters to pick from next year in juniors Shannon Wallskog, Emmy Benson and Lainey Van Hecke, who went into the playoffs with 242, 223 and 223 assists, respectively. Van Hecke led the team with 28 assists in the loss to Chanhassen, while Benson had 20.
Sophomore Courtney Haugen opened the season as the Lakers’ defensive specialist. Junior Annika Evenson could also be in that role next year, while juniors Isabella Westerholm and Bella Stein and sophomore Alex Lloyd will likely see their offensive roles increase.
Spratt had 22 digs in the playoff loss, while Ring had 14 and Haugen had seven. Libert led in blocks with four, while Lloyd had two.