LUCAS — Kelley Mottayaw didn’t expect much when she decided to take over the Lucas volleyball program. The 2010 Madison grad really wasn’t sure what she was getting into when that decision came just a couple of weeks before the start of the 2015 season.
Then she watched an open gym.
“I remember going home and telling my family that we have a pretty good group of girls here if we can get it together,” she said.
Lucas was coming off a 12-11 season, so it’s not like the cupboard had cobwebs. Nevertheless, after a couple of early scrimmages, Mottayaw changed her expectations for the Cubs.
“We were scrambling at the beginning of the year, but I have a really hard working group of girls who want to get better every day, so it’s been great,” she said of being hired as freshman and sophomore social studies teacher at Lucas this summer after working in the Ontario system the last couple of years
On Tuesday, Lucas beat rival Mansfield Christian 25-16, 25-19, 19-25, 25-21 to finish the regular season at 15-7 overall and 10-2 in the Mid-Buckeye Conference. More so, the Cubs were undisputed MBC runners-up behind 12-0 Kidron Central Christian.
“It’s totally boosted their confidence,” Mottayaw said of the finish to the regular season. “They’ve been so pumped the entire season because every game I talk to them about where everybody (in the league) is lined up. I really emphasized that tonight because it was our senior night and it was for an outright second. I said we need to send a message that Lucas volleyball is only going to keep getting better and that we’re fighters and we shouldn’t be overlooked.”
In securing the victory, 5-10 junior middle hitter Makayla Strassell came up with 13 kills and two blocks, while 5-8 junior outside hitter Alex Depue recorded 11 kills and 11 digs, and 5-6 junior Courtney Harris added eight kills, four assists, 23 digs and a block.
“We have a system down and we’re actually pretty comfortable with that,” Mottayaw said. “We’ve developed it and changed it up a little, and I think that helped a lot tonight.”
The Cubs were a different team from the one that was taken to five games by the Flames in September. And they hope that development continues next week when the Division IV sectionals start. Lucas was granted a No. 7 seed and will host No. 8 Sandusky St. Mary Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. A win and the Cubs will either get No. 9 seed New London or the eighth-seeded Flames for a possible third time, and for a sectional championship.
It makes Mottayaw glad she said she’d take the job.
“I said, ‘Why not.’ I coached at Ontario, and I always liked volleyball. I thought I’d give it a shot.”
The Cubs made sure it was a shot worth taking.