PORTAGE – Even as her team slumped through the middle stages of the season, coach Tennille Whitmore knew her Laingsburg volleyball team was capable of making another deep tournament run.
It was just a matter of getting her team to believe what it was capable of doing.
Whitmore saw that happen a few weeks ago and it resulted in the Wolfpack being one of the final eight teams standing in the Class C state volleyball tournament and reaching the quarterfinals for a second consecutive year.
Laingsburg just couldn’t get past that stage Tuesday, as its season ended with a 25-20, 25-15, 25-16 setback to defending state champion Bronson in a match at Portage Central High School.
“We played amazing, determined volleyball in regionals and then we were hoping that was going to take the court tonight, and we had opportunities for that,” Whitmore said. “We just didn’t make it all the way to the end.”
Laingsburg closes the season at 40-11-2 and put together another strong season despite losing a few key components from last year’s team that had 43 wins.
“Some kids stepped up huge and filled big shoes that walked away from our program last year to get us back here,” Whitmore said. “We have a lot to be proud of. I’m really proud of them.”
The Wolfpack had chances in each of the three sets, but were hurt by big Bronson runs each time.
Laingsburg fell behind 10-4 in the opening set after the Vikings netted seven consecutive points. But the Wolfpack battled back to knot the scores at 18 and again at 20.
After the score was deadlocked at 20, Bronson wrapped up the set with five consecutive points.
In the second set, Bronson took control with six straight points after the teams were tied at 8. The Vikings then closed the set with five consecutive points en route to the 25-15 win.
Laingsburg jumped out to a 6-2 lead in the third set, but Bronson gradually worked its way back. The Vikings took their first lead at 17-16 and that was part of 10 unanswered points they used to close out the set and the match.
“It was tough,” Laingsburg senior Erin Cooper said. “We weren’t really on our 100 percent game, which sucks. It sucks, because we don’t want to look back on it with it regret. It was tough.”
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