BATTLE CREEK — After being ousted in the quarterfinals last season, Laingsburg is making the most of its first trip to Class C Final Four.
The Wolfpack outlasted fellow first-timer Wixom St. Catherine, 3-1, Friday at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena to advance to Saturday’s state championship dream date with two-time defending Class C state champion, also the top-ranked team in the state since Week 2 in late August.
Laingsburg dimmed the Stars’ title hopes with a 24-26, 25-23, 25-13, 25-23 victory.
“I think after we lost in the quarterfinals last season the girls wanted to get to the next step,” said Tennille Whitmore, Laingsburg’s coach of 17 seasons. “We have never been to a final before. I think that was the goal all along this year. We lost in the quarters three times before. The four (seniors) had their sights set on not only getting here, but reaching the (state) finals.”
Maya Ferland had a match-high 19 kills, including the match-winning point, with five blocks to keep the Wolfpack’s dream season alive. Alex Randall added 15 kills and 15 digs, Sophie Strife had 10 kills, 12 digs and two aces, while Grace Gregg finished with 40 assists for Laingsburg (41-7-3).
“I think we feel like we can compete with anybody,” said Ferland.
Payton Porter slammed 14 kills with 14 digs, Emma Schlagheck added 13 kills, Katie Gross chipped in 38 assists, and Maddie Karn had 12 kills and 11 digs for Wixom St. Catherine (40-5-2).
BRONSON SWEEPS CALUMET
BATTLE CREEK — Top-ranked Bronson took another step towards its third straight state title and fourth in nine years with a 25-16, 25-12, 25-13 state semifinals victory Friday over No. 8 Calumet at Kellogg Arena.
Keona Salesman slammed 16 kills and Miss Volleyball finalist Kiana Mayer had 36 assists for the Vikings, who won state titles in 2009, 2015 and 2016.
Ashton Wronikowski chipped in with 11 kills, Paris Outwater had three aces, and Adyson Lasky was 24-for-25 attacking with eight kills for Bronson (58-9-2).
Bronson is undefeated against Class C and Class D schools this season, with six losses coming against Class A completion while the other three defeats coming against Class B schools. The Vikings have won 21 of their last 22 matches.
Calumet (44-7-2) was paced by Lea Bjorn’s 11 kills and 13 digs.
BY DAN STICKRADT