Sports: Lakenheath volleyball players leading the pack
RAF LAKENHEATH — Minutes after Saturday’s heartbreaking defeat to Ramstein, Lakenheath’s Chelsie Henderson and Greta Gerstner vowed to rebound and lead their team into a rematch with the Lady Royals in the DODDS European volleyball championship tournament next month.
“We’re looking forward to going to Europeans so we can take them on again,” Henderson said. “We know we can play with them. We know we can beat them.”
The senior has good reasons to be optimistic.
She and Gerstner had led the Lady Lancers through 10 straight wins before the loss at the hands of still-undefeated Ramstein.
The two top teams in Division I of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools battled throughout the 2½-hour match Saturday afternoon with lengthy volleys, ferocious spikes, deft sets and agile playmaking on both sides.
Even in defeat, the Lady Lancers showed tremendous character overcoming a 2-0 deficit to win two straight games before finally falling 15-8 in the fifth and final game.
“We came together and just said we were going to forget the first two games and go win two straight,” Gerstner said. “We said we were going to keep our spirits up and keep fighting.”
That steady leadership is what first-year coach Kathy Schick has come to depend on from Gerstner and Henderson.
“They’ve really stepped up this year to lead the team in practicing hard and playing hard,” Schick said. “They’ve both become tremendous leaders.”
Both seniors say they would like to play volleyball on the college level in the United States after graduating from Lakenheath. For now, however, they are focused on getting back to practice to prepare for a potential rematch with Ramstein.
“We are going to go back and practice hard like we’ve done all year and be ready when we meet them again,” Gerstner said.
Schick said Saturday’s gutsy performance bodes well for the team’s future, which includes a final regular season match at Alconbury and the European tourney.
“That shows a lot of strength with our team down to our final match to win two in a row,” Schick said. “They had the drive to come back and that’s very hard to teach. They wanted it, and they went and did it.”