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Volleyball: Lakes hold off Bulldogs, stay unbeaten

Lake Linden-Hubbell’s Melissa Wagner serves against Hancock on Thursday in Lake Linden. (Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette)

LAKE LINDEN — It wasn’t until the third set that “real” volleyball took effect as the Lake Linden-Hubbell Lakes and the Hancock Bulldogs both struggled early on in the Thursday night matchup.

The Lakes opened the game as if it was their third practice not their third game of the season in the first set. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs fell apart in the second set after playing a very strong first.

“After the first set, I told the girls that the good news was that they had made every mistake in the book, and that there were none left to make,” said LL-H coach Mandy Perreault. “We got that out of our system, and I told them we had to move on.”

Moving on they did as the Lakes prevailed with a 3-1 victory (20-25, 25-14, 25-12,25-18) over the Bulldogs.

“We got a victory against a very good team,” Perreault said.

On the other hand, Bulldogs new head coach Elle Heinonen chalked up victories for her girls in the first and final set.

“I think we got a glimpse of what our team can be,” she said. “But then we got a little worked up about the other team and lost focus on our game. When we played our game in the first and the fourth set, we were on. Those two sets showed what our team is capable of.”

In the first set, the Bulldogs marched out to a 9-2 lead and never looked back. On offense, their passing was crisp and controlled. Their defense stopped just about everything the Lakes put over the net.

At one point, senior Ellie Sturos strung together seven points for the Bulldogs at the service line.

“In between, in the second and the third set, we got off track,” Heinonen said. “We lost track of the basics of volleyball — pass, set and hit and we started worrying about other things.

On the other hand, the Lakes finest moments were in the middle sets. Strong service by Alyssa Burton and Mya Ghazele pushed the Lakes to a 13-5 lead in the second set. As well, seniors Joslyn Perala and Jamie Hendrickson stepped up and hit the ball hard.

“I told them you are going to have to go out there and swing the ball as we were not able to beat them with tips and placement,” Perreault said.

The fourth set seemed be the best set for both teams as they battled back and forth. While the Lakes jumped out to a 5-2 lead, the Bulldogs came back to tie it at seven and then eventually take a 15-13 lead. However, with Melissa Wagner at the line the Lakes were able to tie it at 18 and go onto a 25-18 victory.

Melissa came alive for us,” Perreault said. “She had a couple of blocks and she gets a couple of key kills and she really fires the team up. I was also pleased with the defensive play of her libero Kaitlyn Baccus. She was everywhere on the court and was in there the whole game.”

With the win, the Lakes move to 3-0 on the year. The Bulldogs fall to 1-1, but Heinonen said that there was a lot to be proud of despite the loss.

“I liked how our hitters stayed aggressive,” she said. Overall I think the girls fought hard and played like a team and that was good. Hopefully this will light a fire under them as they now know what they are capable of.”

ALSO: L’Anse swept Westwood by scores of 25-8, 25-17 and 25-17. L’Anse senior Brynn VanBuren led the Hornets with 12 assists. Senior Kylie Dompier had 16 service points with four aces. Senior Kailyn Voskuhl led the team with 14 digs and four kills. L’Anse hosts Watersmeet on Monday. … Jeffers swept Ontonagon by scores of 25-8, 26-24 and 25-11. The Jets had 33 aces on the night, including 14 by Marissa Nordstrom.

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