LL-H maintains conference dominance with 4-set win over Chassell

Bryce Derouin/Daily Mining Gazette Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Mariah Willmer goes for a kill as Chassell’s Sophia Huhta jumps for the block, Tuesday, in Lake Linden. Willmer finished with 11 kills and LL-H won in four sets.

LAKE LINDEN — Winners of the last seven conference championships, the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes are the model Class D volleyball program in the area. Meanwhile, the Chassell Panthers have recently been the Lakes’ biggest challenge to the throne, and for one set Tuesday in Lake Linden, Chassell proved why.

Then LL-H took over, just as they have the past seven years.

LL-H recovered from dropping the first set, 17-25, to win the next three (25-18, 25-12, 25-21) and move its record to 6-0 in conference play.

“We knew Chassell has been gunning for us in the conference,” LL-H head coach Maureen Schick said. “There were just bad plays we were making (in that first set). Sometimes we try to get too picky and make a couple bad plays in a row being too perfect.

“I felt like later on we settled down and played consistent, and we didn’t hurt ourselves as much after that.”

LL-H’s self-inflicted errors in the opener allowed a 15-13 Chassell lead to end up being a 25-17 victory for the Panthers in the opener. The Lakes offense was out of synch and played right into Chassell’s game plan.

“Our whole goal was to push (LL-H’s) setter back and get them off of a tempo where (Laura Lyons) is running everything at her own pace,” Chassell head coach Kaitlyn Michaels said. “I thought we were able to do that; we pushed deep into the corner and they were like, ‘Whoa, now what do we do?’ So I liked that we were able to go to that corner and run with it. They did it well and played on the weakness.”

But the Lakes (14-5-3, 6-0) eventually settled in and their hitters took over. Junior Mariah Willmer finished with a match-high 11 kills, while seniors Maija Codere and Erin Seppala each recorded seven kills as the LL-H offense consistently got strong swings from its key hitters.

Leading 17-12 in the third set, LL-H went on an 8-0 run to win, while Willmer recorded three kills during the Lakes’ run.

“Mariah took charge of the net the way she could and put some balls down,” Schick said. “There was a spot when Erin found all the empty spots; if they blocked to the line, she hit the cross for an open spot, and if the line was open, she hit the line.

“Maija was able to hit, and I felt like (MacKenzie LePage), while she didn’t get a lot of kills, she made smart plays and wasn’t blasting it out of bounds or anything like that.”

Chassell was able to make the second set more competitive, trailing 21-19 after LL-H hit out of bounds. But the Lakes tallied the next four points, with Lyons recording her fifth kill of the night for the match victory; Lyons also had 29 assists.

It was a disappointing end for Chassell after what appeared to be a promising beginning for the Panthers.

“All the things collectively were there in the first set. Our attitude, our skill and our energy and quickness was there,” Michaels said. “That was fun to watch.

“But then you watch the second, third and the last set, then they get down on themselves for little mistakes. And that’s kind of what cost us. It’s hard to coach them out of that when they’re just bummed for not meeting their own expectations for tonight.”

Chassell’s Dana Kinnunen finished with eight kills, while Sophia Huhta and Maili Rautiola each added six kills. Milly Allen chipped in with 24 assists, four kills, three aces and seven digs.

Next, LL-H is off until Oct. 5 when they host Houghton. Chassell welcomes Ontonagon on Thursday.


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