Lakeshore went winless in its first season and Year 2 saw baby steps for Schaap’s team, as they won “two or three matches,” she said.
The only fall sport at the school located on Lakeshore Drive has taken remarkable strides in Year 3, as the Conquerors started the season 6-0, before falling twice to Wellsprings Prep School of Grand Rapids this past Thursday and again on Tuesday evening.
“It’s been quite the turnaround,” said Schaap, a marketing director at Lakeshore. “The girls have worked so, so hard to get to this point. They’re so passionate about the game, but sometimes they let their emotions get to their head. But I couldn’t be more proud of their dedication and work ethic.
“I think the best thing for this team was I was able to teach the sport from the beginning,” Schaap said, a former setter. “Many of them had never played before, so they never developed any bad habits or came in doing things wrong. They’ve learned to play the right way from the beginning and have accelerated pretty quickly.”
Schaap’s team features no seniors and she said the roster is basically 98 percent of the female enrollment at Lakeshore.
“I even brought a seventh-grader up (Taryn Bushong), and she’s going to be a very good player,” Schaap said. “We’ve got a good group of seventh and eighth graders coming up.”
Lakeshore’s schedule features opponents from small Christian, prep or charter schools throughout West Michigan. Schaap said they’ve also played junior varsity teams from larger schools.
On Thursday, Lakeshore came out of the gates strong, taking Game 1 against the Wellsprings Wolves, 25-13. Wellsprings gained control early in Game 2, only to see the hosts rally back to force a 21-21 tie. But the Wolves closed with a fury, winning, 25-22, then kept the momentum in their favor. They scored the first 12 points in Game 3 due to some shaky defense from the Conquerors, and rolled to a 15-3 victory.
Lakeshore will get at least one or two more chances to defeat Wellsprings, starting with a tri-meet next week that also features Algoma Christian. The Conquerors’ next home match is Friday.
Members of the Lakeshore’s squad includes juniors Ally Sides, Julie Vanderberg, Kelci Taipalus and Taylor Merz; sophomores Sarah VandyBogurt, and Bre Wallace; freshmen Anna Gomer and Alexa Bushong; and seventh-grader Taryn Bushong.