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Volleyball cruises through PIL

Junior+Grace+Zilbert+%28center%29+plays+a+ball+during+a+3-1+victory+at+Grant+on+Oct.+11.
Junior Grace Zilbert (center) plays a ball during a 3-1 victory at Grant on Oct. 11.

Junior Grace Zilbert (center) plays a ball during a 3-1 victory at Grant on Oct. 11.

Alannah Shields

Alannah Shields

Junior Grace Zilbert (center) plays a ball during a 3-1 victory at Grant on Oct. 11.

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The Lincoln volleyball team has spiked their competition this year with a record of 17-2 as of October 16th. The team has dropped just one set during league play, and is approaching playoffs with momentum.

Head coach Stephen Stone, a former New Zealand national volleyball player, has set a playoff goal for the girls team this year.

With five playoff wins needed to take the state championship, “the expectation is to win two [games] and whatever happens after that will be a bonus,” says Stone.

He stresses that beyond league play, his team needs to be able to compete with “top ten teams.”

But what has been the secret behind the team’s success this year? Part of it is practice. The team usually has two games a week and trains consistently.

“We practice Monday to Friday for at least an hour and a half,” says Stone. All of the girls on the varsity team this year also play for club teams during the offseason. The two main clubs that girls on the team play for are Multnomah Athletic Club and Oregon Junior Volleyball Academy.

The Lincoln team also has many talented players and some that have a future in college volleyball. “We have two of the best position players in Oregon,” says Stone, referring to players senior Libby Lazzara and junior Grace Zilbert.

Lazzara has verbally committed to play at Colorado College and senior Bennet Shoemaker, the team’s setter, has verbally committed to play for the University of Puget Sound.

Carmen Vintro, a junior on the Varsity team and Cardinal Times Athlete of the Month for September, has really enjoyed the season so far. “It’s been super fun this year and we’ve been playing at a much higher level [than past years],” she says. Despite the team’s winning record, both Stone and Vintro agree that playoffs will be a challenge.

Despite their league record, wins in the playoffs have been few and far between for PIL teams in the past. What is not disputed, however, is that the Cardinals will be heading into the postseason well-prepared and with a winning record under their belt.

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