Prep volleyball: Lakewood repeats as CAAC champ

Prep volleyball: Lakewood repeats as CAAC champ

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Prep volleyball: Lakewood repeats as CAAC champ

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DEWITT

Lakewood repeated as CAAC Cup champions without losing a game in three matches.

But the Vikings had to come back from a 14-9 deficit to narrowly edge DeWitt 25-23 in the first game on Thursday night before adding 25-13 and 25-14 wins to complete the sweep.

Six kills by senior Emily Kutch over an eight-point stretch enabled Lakewood to narrow the Panthers’ lead to 16-15.

“We’re pretty confident when she gets set that she’s going to do something with it, especially because she can hit so many different shots from so many different places,” Lakewood coach Kellie Rowland said. “She’s dangerous. She hit over .600 tonight (on her kill attempts).”

Kutch recorded 12 of her 23 kills during the first game.

“We just knew we had to push through it,” Kutch said. “We knew that if we were down, we could come back.”

Neither team led by more than two points and the score was tied four times after the surge that made it 16-15.

“We even had a 23-22 lead, but give them credit,” DeWitt coach Christie Drayton said. “They went to their go-to girl, and she’s a great player.”

Drayton thought the outcome of the first game was key.

“It was a great volleyball atmosphere, and it would been have huge to win that first one because volleyball’s a game of momentum,” she said.

Kutch agreed.

“That first game determined the second and third game,” she said.

DeWitt trailed just 10-7 in the second game before the Vikings reeled off 10 straight points.

“We mentally fell apart a little bit in that second game and started making errors,” Drayton said. “But you’ve got to give Lakewood credit, because they forced us to make some of those errors.”

Lakewood made the key run with DeWitt senior standout Kaylee Schmitt on the bench. Schmitt finished with 14 kills and eight blocks, junior Victoria Alvarado made 16 assists, and junior Gina Vilona added 15 digs.

Senior Brooke Wieland had 37 assists, and seniors Beth Tingley and Olivia Davis added 19 digs and six blocks respectively for the Class B No. 1 Vikings (44-4).

Kutch was pleased with the CAAC repeat.

“It means a lot. It’s another step before districts,” she said. “All the hard work paid off.”

DeWitt (33-11-1) looks forward to the return of junior setter Carly Stieve for districts next week.

“She’s been out two weeks, but she’ll be back Tuesday,” Drayton said.

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