October 7, 2014

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – First place in the Great Rivers Athletic Conference standings will be on the line when the Volunteers play host to the Lakers of Lake Land College at 6:30 today in Carterville.

Logan is 13-4 overall this fall with a 5-1 mark in the conference. Lake Land is 14-6 overall and also 5-1 in the league following a loss to Kaskaskia last week. The Lakers won the initial match with the Vols in Mattoon on Sept. 3 in three straight sets: 25-21, 25-23, 25-23.

But All-American outside hitter, Cleuza Porto, who almost singlehandedly carried the Lakers to victory on that night, recently suffered a leg injury and is not expected to play Wednesday, which gives Logan an edge.

“Lake Land has suffered a few injuries, which has made them vulnerable,” he said. “The injury to Porto, in particular, is tough because she is their driving force offensively,” said JALC head coach Bill Burnside. “We were up all three games at their place before Porto provided the turnaround. Without her, it’s a different team.”

Burnside said the Lakers’ loss in five games to Kaskaskia last week was a big upset in the conference standings and opens up an opportunity for the Vols to win the league should they win out from here.

“We’ve seen some definite improvement on this team in multiple areas,” he said. “Our blocking has improved greatly and the offense has gotten more steady and competent. We’ve done this despite having a lot of fresh faces on the court with only one returning starter (sophomore outside hitter Audrey Vaughn), but as the season has gone on, both our freshmen and sophomores have gotten more experience. I feel we are meshing together well.”