Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio says football is a game of inches.
So is volleyball.
A kill close to the out-of-bounds line by senior Heather Holton started a late Haslett rally that erased a 13-11 deficit, and a block where Taryn King placed her hands at just the right angle finished off a 16-14 fifth-game victory as the Vikings edged DeWitt.
“It was very exciting to get that block, and (the win) means a lot to us,” King said. “I’m excited for my team.”
The 25-19, 18-25, 25-18, 11-25, 16-14 victory on Tuesday gives the Vikings (25-5-3, 2-0) the early advantage in the race for the CAAC Red title. Further matches involving St. Johns and Fowlerville, and the CAAC Red tournament where they may meet DeWitt (16-5, 1-1) again, will also factor into who eventually claims the league title.
“We knew it was going to be a lengthy one going in, but that’s what you love about a rivalry,” DeWitt coach Christy Drayton said. “We had a 13-11 lead with the serve with my 6-3 hitter (Kaylee Schmitt) in the front row, but give Haslett credit. They did some great things.”
Schmitt’s 21st kill gave the Panthers their last lead at 14-13 before Haslett scored the last three points.
Seven of Schmitt’s kills came in the fourth game, where DeWitt jumped ahead 18-7 and won 25-11.
“She’s been our leader the entire season,” Drayton said. “She carries us, and did a great job and played really well tonight.”
“It feels great to win because DeWitt’s our rival, but they played great and Kaylee played awesome,” said Holton.
Holton finished with 16 kills and sophomore Makenna Ott added 14 kills and 22 digs for the Vikings, who also got 64 assists from Courtney Brassington.
“Allison Rich also did a great job on defense,” McCann said.
Schmitt also led the Panthers in blocks with 14, while Carly Stieve led in assists with 35.
“Both teams are pretty athletic, and you can fight back and forth like that whe you have good athletes, and I’m fortunate enought to ha ve a good set of athletes,” Haslett coach Wendy McCann said.
“They play basketball and softball, and are used to competing and pressure.”