Basketball Players Lift Lutheran's Volleyball Team

ROCKFORD-Rockford Lutheran's basketball players are back on the court. But instead of dribbling and shooting, they're setting and spiking.

"Joe Kellen and I were running track one day, and we came in the gym and it was one of their first practices. They didn't have many people so we decided to join. It looked like fun at the time," says basketball player turned volleyball player Nate Wieting.

That was one year ago in Lutheran's first year competing in boys volleyball. Wieting is the captain and one of six basketball players to join the volleyball team.

"We're good friends, so it's just a good time to hang out after school and play some volleyball," says Wieting.

"Last year we were really bad as a team, so we're like oh we're going to lose games, and we kind of realized we're a bunch of athletes out here playing, and we've done pretty well, so our mindset has changed that we want to win," says Thomas Kopelman another basketball standout playing volleyball.

That mindset has given the Saders the best record in the Stateline. Head coach Natalie Olsen says it's the team chemistry that makes them so successful.

"If you play like a bunch of individuals out there you're going to lose a match, so the fact these guys have played together, they have this vibe. They all play so well together all the time," says Olsen.

"We're all used to playing together, and we have the same talk on the court," says Kopelman. "It just brings us together. We're a fun team and a close group of guys."

Basketball comes into play pretty often.

"I refer to where they should be on the court, and I refer to the basketball lines for that and when they're shooting the basketball they have the 'gooseneck,' so we talk about when we're hitting we have the 'gooseneck snap,' says Olsen. "So I like to reference it because they understand it."

Whether this team expected to be good or not, their 13-2 record is the best in the Stateline.

I'm already so proud of them," says Olsen. "If we win a regional I'd be so happy."

"We've played good with all the area teams, so hopefully we can continue to do that and go on and win a regional," says Kopelman.

Regionals start next week.

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