ONTONAGON - It is all going according to script for the Lake Linden-Hubbell volleyball team.
Running the table in Mountain Lake Conference play, the Lakes took home the conference championship. Again. And senior middle hitter Mandy Perreault collected the MLC MVP award. Her second in a row.
So Thursday, LL-H quite predictably capped off the successful season by thrashing Ontonagon 3-0 in the Class D district championship (25-14, 25-7, 25-17). Just like last year.
Lake Linden-Hubbell seniors Mandy Perreault and Jaimie Middleton combo block Ontonagon’s Chloe Ashley in the first set of the Lakes’ 3-0 win Thursday night in a Class D?district final at Ontonagon. (DMG photo by Michael Bleach)
"This was exactly the plan at the start of the year," Perreault said. "It definitely does not get old."
While no set was ever in jeopardy, the Lakes never looked better - possibly all season - than in the start of the second set.
LL-H ran off 14 consecutive points to open the set, with Perreault leading the way at the front of the net. The senior recorded six kills and two block kills in the 14-point run as the Gladiators had no answer for the conference MVP offensively or defensively.
"It all starts with our passing," LL-H coach Karen Keranen said. "When we can start with a good pass, we can run that quick offense to Mandy. When we start with a good pass, we have options. If we don't get that good pass it goes downhill quick."
Perreault led all players with 16 kills for the match, contributing in her usual variety of ways.
The senior can access tipped balls, cut shots and pure power to put away a kill, and the defense is usually left guessing for which option she will choose. While Perreault may not have the thunderous arm of teammate Brittni Kisul (four kills Thursday), she has the best instincts and court vision to place the ball where the defense is not.
"I kind of get a feel for where the defense is setting up as the ball is set," Perreault said. "And then I take one last look. Coach says I have good court vision. Plus, I am watching all the time on the bench to see how the defense moves with certain plays."
And when Perreault leaves the front line, Kisul is there to replace her.
The senior recorded four block-kills for the match and led the team with 15 digs in the back row.
"She was excellent at the net today," Keranen said.
Up next for the Lakes will be a rematch with Forest Park in the regional round.
The Trojans ended LL-H's season last year in regionals, and with much of the same team back for the Lakes, they have been looking forward to the rematch all season long.
"This is THE game on the calendar," Perreault said. "We have been thinking about this game all year long."