Lakeland girls fall to Great Bridge

Published 11:08 pm Friday, September 2, 2016

Lakeland High School’s girls’ volleyball team lost 3-0 to Great Bridge High School on Thursday.

“The game was disappointing because of the start,” first-year head coach Michael Cooke said Friday. “We want to make sure we are improving every game. Each day we want to say we are better than we were yesterday.”

Cooke is learning more every day about volleyball, he said. He wants to mix his own knowledge with his ability to get the best out of his players. He has been an educator for 24 years, so the teaching part of the game comes naturally for him.


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“Every player learns a different way,” he said. “Learning different personalities and working to teach and help them get the best out of themselves is a strength of mine.”

Cooke’s philosophies are simple. He wants his team to stay positive every day, to give 100 percent and to make sure they are improving.

The Lakeland community’s welcoming spirit has made his coaching transition easier, he said.

“Everyone has been so welcoming,” Cooke said. “The coaches and parents that I have reached have been very welcoming. Mr. Rountree, our athletic director, has been a big help.”

Though he is new to coaching competitive volleyball, Cooke has significant appreciation for the time and effort it takes to be better.

“I do my best to put the work in,” Cooke said. “Every night I go home and read literature and watch film to improve my knowledge of the game.”

Boys’ volleyball coach Tarijuana Napoleon has also been a big influence on Cooke’s progression as a coach.

“If it was sink or swim, I probably would have sank without coach Napoleon,” Cooke said. “I always try to learn as much as I can from her. She has been a big help, and I can’t thank her enough.”

Lakeland is expected to get production out of Morgan Baines and Kayla Barnes. Baines had seven digs in the game against Great Bridge, and Barnes is the team’s best server.

The Lady Cavaliers lack size, so the team does a lot of hybrid things to have the players compliment each other.

Lakeland will be at home for their next game against Deep Creek at 6 p.m. Sept. 8.

“We want to make sure we give 100 percent this next game,” Cooke said. “No one can ever ask more of you if you do that.”

Great Bridge 3, Lakeland 0

(25-4, 25-8, 25-14)