East Lansing coach Jan Dreffs said her team “took a step in the right direction” toward a CAAC Blue title with a 3-1 victory over Holt on Tuesday night in a battle of first-place teams.
The Trojans remain in a first-place tie with Okemos after their 25-22, 16-25, 25-16, 25-18 win over the defending league co-champion Rams.
“We knew Julie Shallman was going to get her kills,” East Lansing coach Jan Dreffs said. “But we wanted to make our runs once we got her in the back row, and the kids did a good job of that.”
The 6-2½ senior finished with 12 kills for the Rams, who slipped to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in the league.
“Their libero (Marisa Dumond) is amazing. She gets to a ton of balls,” Dreffs said of the senior, who led Holt with 25 digs and four aces. “But I have quite a few seniors that did the job that needed to be done, and showed a lot of presence on the court.”
Piper Tucker amassed 19 kills, and Kennedy Marker added 15 for the Trojans (14-3, 3-0). Many came on the 18 assists from Allie Hogan.
“I’ve had Piper Tucker and Kennedy Marker for four years, and they know what to expect from me and what I expect from them,” Dreffs said. “It’s a pleasure to coach these kids. I’ve had Allie Hogan for three years, my juniors are coming along, and Kelcie Haizlip has started to blossom like crazy as a hitter. These kids are very focused, and they have great team chemistry. We hope that continues.”
Her fifth kill of the game and three serves by Tucker erased a 22-21 deficit and enabled East Lansing to gain four straight points in the first-game victory.
Shallman served five straight points to start what turned out to be an 11-1 run to close out the Rams’ 25-16 win in the second game.
“I told them after that second game to cut down on the errors, run the offense, work hard, and good things are going to happen,” Dreffs said.
The 6-foot-1 Marker had seven of her kills in the third game, where the Trojans earned points on seven of the last nine serves. The stretch included a spike kill by Hogan that made it 23-16.
East Lansing hopes to continue to win in preparation for a possible showdown at Okemos on Oct. 9.
Holt coach Kellie Sweitzer is looking toward the league tournament at Eastern on Oct. 13, which counts half toward the final CAAC Blue standings.
“We’ve got things we need to work on, but we’re confident we can come back and take them on in the conference tournament,” she said. “We’ve got to have better passes, and today our defense really hurt us. We hardly had any blocks.”