CHASSELL - Neither Lake Linden-Hubbell nor Chassell played its best volleyball Tuesday night, but the Lakes' subpar performance was good enough to beat the host Panthers 3-0 (25-15, 25-19, 25-14).
"We moved slow. I wasn't real happy with our movement," LL-H coach Karen Keranen said. "Chassell I thought moved kind of slow, too. I thought the whole game was slow."
It only took about an hour on the clock, but both teams struggled to consistently set up their attack, and both committed numerous hitting errors.
Lake Linden-Hubbell libero Erin Gast digs the ball during the second set of the Lakes’ 3-0 victory over Chassell Tuesday night in Chassell. (DMG photo by Stephen Anderson)
LL-H started particularly slow on its serve game, and even though the Lakes never found the consistency Keranen expects, they improved enough as the match progressed to baffle Chassell's serve receive.
The Lakes scored 13 of the last 18 points in the first set, but Chassell hung tight throughout the second set.
LL-H jumped out to a 4-1 lead, with a kill each from Mandy Perreault and Brittni Kisul - who had 14 and 10 kills, respectively - but Chassell cut the deficit to 6-5. LL-H made it 9-5, but Chassell tied it at 9-9. The Lakes tallied a five-point run to make it 16-12, but the Panthers answered right back with five straight of their own.
LL-H put an end to the back-and-forth duel when it mattered, though, putting together three separate runs of three points, while never allowing consecutive Panther points the rest of the set.
That was only foreshadowing for the third set.
Of the 10 sideouts in the last set, Chassell only strung together consecutive points twice, whereas Lake Linden-Hubbell only failed to put consecutive points together twice.
LL-H had two runs of three, two runs of four and a match-clinching run of five points.
"I see glimmers of what we can do, but consistency is what I'm after," said Keranen, who was happy to see her team's growing confidence and mental toughness.
Lakes junior Ciara Larson led all players with 14 digs, while also contributing seven kills. Jaimie Middleton and Brooke Corrigan notched 12 and seven digs, respectively. Annelise Polkinghorn had 15 assists, and Kisul had three aces for the victors. Chassell got five kills from Kaitlyn Hietala and 13 digs from Jamie Dompier.
"There were times we fell apart and the communication wasn't there, and you can't have that against a good team," Chassell coach Gael Filpus said. "Coming off a win from Hancock, we were hoping we could keep the momentum going, but sometimes it's a good thing in a way, too, so we can figure out what we really need to work on, especially since the teams we've been beating aren't in our conference."
Chassell, which is 4-3 overall, is 0-2 in the Copper Country Conference. The Panthers are back in action at home against Ontonagon on Thursday. The Lakes are off until next Tuesday, when they travel to Baraga.