The Gull Lake Blue Devils are the the No. 1-ranked Class A volleyball team in the state, and the Lakeview Spartans learned why on Tuesday night.
The host Blue Devils won 3-0 (25-17, 25-18, 25-13) to advance to the semifinals of the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s district playoffs.
Gull Lake next plays again at home on Thursday night at 6:30 against Coldwater, which defeated Holt3-0 in Tuesday night’s other match at Gull Lake. Also on Thursday, Battle Creek Central will be in action at 5 p.m.
Gull Lake was led, as it has been accustomed to, by the senior duo of Miss Volleyball candidates Leah Perri (15 kills, 12 digs) and Katie Schau (36 assists, 10 digs).
“(Perri and Schau) are phenomenal players and we look for them to lead us, that’s their job,” Gull Lake coach Karyn Furlong said. “They have to lead us on the court, off the court, with their emotion and their intensity and we expect that from them.”
Lakeview looked sharp early on and only trailed 12-9 midway through the first game. But that’s when Schau and Perri showed what they’re made of.
Schau’s picture-perfect sets allowed Perri to let loose on several monster spikes, leading Gull Lake to an 8-2 run that put the Blue Devils ahead 20-11.
Freshman Madison Olsen’s spike down the line ended game one with the Blue Devils on top 25-17.
In game two the Spartans came out strong again and held a 12-11 advantage early on behind solid play from setter Payton Moore and outside hitters Macy McCullough and Casey Looper.
But, again, Schau and Perrin took over the game, leading the Blue Devils to a 25-18 win that was sealed by a Schau tip over two Lakeview blockers.
“We worked on some things and had some success tonight, but we don’t have as much firepower or as much height,” Lakeview coach Heather Sawyer said. “I think we played well tonight, though. I’m not disappointed at all.”
In game three the Blue Devils played like a team that is hungry for a state title as they used fundamentally sound play to run away with the win 25-13.
Gull Lake has amassed a 53-6 record this season while winning a Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference title. But nothing would make the Blue Devils happier than to advance past the state quarterfinals where they lost to the eventual state champion Rockford last season.
“All the success we’ve had throughout the season definitely helps,” Furlong said. “We come in with a lot of confidence and a lot of trust in each other that we can play at a high level, it’s just a matter of doing it. I think we’ll need to pick up our intensity a little bit. We need to learn to control the tempo of the match and play our style of play no matter who’s on the other side of the net.”
In Coldwater’s 3-0 win over Holt on Tuesday — by scores of 25-7, 25-14, 25-18 — Cardinals (44-7-2) were led by Breann Spangler with nine kills, two blocks and 12 digs; Lauren Outwater with nine kills and four blocks; Meghan Schorfhaar with 10 digs; Morgan Klein with five kills; and Janie Marso with 18 assists.
Class B (at) Eaton Rapids
Olivet 3, Leslie 1: Olivet won by scores of 25-17, 25-21, 24-26 and 25-20 to advance to play Eaton Rapids on Thursday.
The Eagles (13-14-2) were led by Kaylyn Westlake with 28 assists; Aleena Janousek with 12 kills, five aces and seven blocks; Lauren Westlake with 16 digs; and Kaila Redfield with five blocks.
Class C (at) Concord
Homer 3, Jonesville 1: Homer won by scores of 16-25, 25-16, 28-26 and 25-21 to advance to play Albion at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
The Trojans (22-18-3) were led by Stephanie Osborn with 12 kills and two blocks; Hannah Willson with 11 kills and 13 digs; Brooke Ebersole with 21 assists; Ashley Taylor with six aces; Karley Nevins with three aces; and Kristin Nelson with 14 digs.
Class D (at) Bellevue
, Jackson Christian win: Bellevue defeated Marshall Academy 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-16) and Tekonsha lost to Jackson Christian 3-2 (18-25, 15-25, 25-22, 25-14, 6-15) as Bellevue and J-Christian advanced to Thursday’s 7 p.m. final.
For Tekonsha (7-21-2), Katie Jenkins had 14 kills, 10 digs and four blocks; Mackenzie Norman had 25 assists, 15 digs and four aces; Morgan Renfro had eight kills and 12 digs; and Mya Kavanaugh had seven kills, four digs and two blocks.
Class D (at) Martin
Climax-Scotts 3, Martin 0 (Mon.): The Panthers won by scores of 23-25, 25-16, 25-22 and 25-19 to advance to face Calhoun Christian at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Also in action Wednesday will be top-ranked St. Philip, which takes on Kalamazoo Heritage Christian at 6 p.m.
The Panthers were led by Fallon Froberg with 13 kills and three blocks; Farrah Scears with 11 kills and four blocks; Madison Nabozny, Margret Brown and Destiny Froberg with eight digs apiece; Ashley Wager with nine aces; and Anna Lodes with seven aces.
St. Joseph County Invite: In the boys’ race, Colon finished sixth with 141 points. The Magi’s top runners were Harley Thompson (14th, 18:30), Kyle Poortenga (15th, 18:35), Jonathan Stewart (34th, 20:31), Larry Peppers (38th, 21:25) and Ben Weaver (40th, 23:12).
In the girls’ race, Colon was led by Skyler Harvey (fifth, 22:02.7), Anessa Broker (15th, 23:40.4) and Brianne Reichert (21st, 25:37).