Thunder pushing to finish on a high note

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The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College volleyball team may not have as many wins as it would like, but the team has remained positive and continues to work toward a strong finish. At 1-11 overall, the Thunder still strive to finish the season on a strong note.

"This team is made up of a great group of women," said head coach Laura Sylvester. "It's a joy to be around each and every one of them."

Playing in the MCAC North Division, the Thunder are in a difficult conference and the pace of play is tough for incoming players as they make the adjustment from high school to college volleyball.

"Our conference is very tough, with many strong teams, and what is not reflected on our record is how tough we are battling in each set," Sylvester said. "These ladies have really found a way to score points and not back down throughout the matches, and I am pleased that we are competing at a very high level right now."

Leading the Thunder are a trio of captains: Kayla Jackson and Tatianna Zimmerman, both graduates of South Ridge, and Courtney Ableiter, who graduated from Carlton.

"Kayla is a strong leader for us and leads by example. Her teammates feed off her high level of play and hustle," Sylvester said. "Tatianna has a high level of court awareness and she refuses to let the ball hit the floor and leads our team in digs; and Courtney does whatever her team asks of her. She's been asked to play multiple positions this season and always embraces the challenge."

A couple of other local players, Sam Lorenz, who played at Cloquet, and Shana Laveau, of Wrenshall, are also keys to this year's team.

"Sam and Shana are both talented middle hitters for us," Sylvester said. "I have asked a lot of them on defense, and serve and receive, which typically are difficult skills for middles and they both have really accepted the challenge and they lead our team in a positive way."

The Thunder have four matches remaining with only one home game at noon this Saturday, Oct. 14.

"This team is made up of a great group of young women," Sylvester said. "They are strong students, caring, supportive members of their families, and our community."

Fond du Lac will play Wednesday at Northland Technical and Community College and then return for their final home game this Saturday against Hibbing. Next Tuesday the Thunder will travel to Vermilion Community College in Ely before wrapping up the season Friday, Oct. 27, in Virginia against Mesabi Range Community College.