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Morin building quite a legacy at ShakamakPosted Wednesday, October 28, 2009, at 3:27 PM
Shakamak coach Jeri Morin shows her emotions after winning their first volleyball sectional in 2007 at home. (By B.J. Hargis/Greene County Daily World).
During that time she's turned an 8-18 team slowly and steadily into both conference and now three-time sectional champions.
When she took over the program in 2002, the team finished with a 14-17 record that included a season-ending 21-18, 21-15, 21-13 loss to Bloomfield in the Class A sectional at Glover Gymnasium.
In her first year, Morin had added six wins to the docket and started a trend that continues today -- no less than 14 wins.
The next time around Morin added three more victories (reversing the numbers to 17-14) and earned the first sectional win in her tenure.
It came on October 23, 2003 against the Clay City Lady Eels by scores of 15-21, 21-16, 21-10, 21-16.
Unfortunately for Morin and her Lady Lakers, the win came in the second year of Union (Dugger) then-coach Tammy Meurer's run of four consecutive sectional titles.
They butted heads on Saturday night and the Lady Bulldogs prevailed 12-21,12-21, 21-15, 21-16, 15-5.
The following season (2004) saw Morin's club add another trio of wins, pushing their record to 20-11, and another trip to the sectional title match.
This time White River Valley became the Lady Lakers victim in a 21-25, 25-15, 25-20, 25-14 decision before the Lady Bulldogs once again ended their title hopes -- this time in three games 26-24, 25-10, 25-19.
The 2005 season produced two more wins -- the second of four 20-plus wins marks -- and another trip to the sectional title contest against, you guessed it, the Union (Dugger) juggernaut.
North Central was the Lady Lakers springboard to a third consecutive sectional title battle with Union (Dugger) when they fell in three sets 25-10, 25-18, 25-14.
The Lady Bulldogs prevailed in the championship contest 21-25, 25-23, 25-15, 25-17.
The 2006 season saw another increase in overall wins as the Lady Lakers went 24-5 (including 6-1 in the Southwestern Indiana Athletic Conference and 4-1 in the Tri-River Conference) adding another step forward to Morin's legacy at the helm of the program.
All of the regular season steps forward and successes couldn't produce sectional.
The Bloomfield Lady Cardinals produced the upset by first knocking off the top-10 ranked Lady Lakers 25-23, 25-21, 15-25, 16-25 and 15-7 before they continued a surprising romp through the tournament by stopping WRV and Clay City in the final two rounds.
It was also the last time the Class A sectional was contested on Bloomfield's floor. That's when the Lady Cardinals were bumped to 2A and the Class A tourney was reconfigured.
When things were settled in 2007, Morin's squad went from taking steps forward to launching themselves to prominence.
They ended the regular season with another increase in wins and two conference CO-titles, then followed with their first sectional crown in program history.
The Lady Lakers ran through the regular season posting a 29-3 mark that included identical 6-1 SWIAC and 4-1 TRC records.
But unlike the previous season, those marks were good enough to give Morin and her squad their first conference crowns, an honor they shared in both leagues with the Linton-Stockton Lady Miners.
Almost as if it were some kind of cosmic justice, the Lady Lakers were slated to host the new field in the sectional.
It was an opportunity they didn't squander as they secured the first post season volleyball trophy for the school's case.
The first order of business was to extract a little revenge against the Union (Dugger) Lady Bulldogs.
On Thursday, Oct. 18 two years ago, the Lady Lakers took to the floor against their nemesis and when things had settled, they walked away with a hard-fought four-set win.
After dropping the opening game 25-18, Shakamak never faltered winning the remaining three games 25-19, 25-15 and 25-21.
Saturday morning's opening match saw the Clay City Lady Eels post a five-set win over WRV before the Lady Lakers sliced and diced their way past North Central in three sets 25-12, 28-26, 25-8.
That set the stage for -- at the time -- one of the most significant wins in Shakamak volleyball history.
After splitting the first two sets (25-22 and 23-25) with Clay City, Shakamak took a two sets to one lead by answering with a 25-16 win in game three.
But as the post season luck of the Lady Lakers would have it, the Lady Eels would force a decisive fifth set after responding with a 25-22 win of their own.
Whatever momentum the Lady Eels had in the fourth set was gone in the fifth because Morin's charges rolled to a 15-5 victory.
The win ended a drought and began a run that continued the next season despite a decline in wins that led to an 18-14 regular season record. But preceded another run to a title.
Union (Dugger) once again fell victim to the Lady Lakers in 2008's sectional opener. This time it was a three-set sweep 25-17, 25-15, 25-21 that propelled them to the title round and another battle with the LadyBirds of North Central.
After North Central took the first two sets in relatively easy fashion winning 25-18, 25-12, the defending champs responded with back-to-back sets of their own.
They took game three 25-11 and held off the LadyBirds 26-24 before outlasting them again, this time 15-12, in the clincher.
Now we come to 2009 where Morin's team once again surpassed 20 wins (21-9) and took home a share of the TRC along with Linton-Stockton and Clay City.
"In eight years I've had eight different teams," Morin said during Tuesday's practice. "...honestly I've treasured every team I've had here."
Rick Curl is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World and can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by telephone at (812) 847-4487.
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