Comets’ big-time rally wins Leland Invitational
The final kill by the Grand Traverse Academy transfer left a lasting impression.
It enabled the Comets to claim the championship of their own invitational for the first time since January 2006.
The Comets rallied from a 14-9 defi- cit in the third set against Traverse City St. Francis with seven unanswered points.
“The win was great, but the belief in themselves they gained through not giving up will be something they can put in the bank to draw on later in the season,” Leland coach Laurie Glass said. “There is no quit in this team!”
“I thought it was a great way to end the day. They were on and we were on so we had to battle till the end,” said Maggie Osorio, Leland’s senior libero who led the team with 52 digs. “I think it’s great that we accomplished this, this early in the season.
The Comets beat Glen Lake 25-6, 25-10, Boyne City, 19-25, 25-18, 15-8, and Manistee in pool play 25-15, 25-8.
In the single-elimination round, the Comets also beat Northport 25-9, 25-10, and Charlevoix 25-13, 25-13 before taking on the Gladiators.
St. Francis took the first set 25-23, however, the Comets took the second, 25-20, forcing a third and decisive set.
“The final match was very exciting and extremely competitive,” Glass said. “St. Francis is very athletic and have an outstanding setter with a great array of offensive weapons.
Poor service and hitting errors in the final set put the Comets in a hole.
“St. Francis started really celebrating early,” Glass said. “In our time-out, we talked about playing each point hard.”
The Comets got a side out to cut the deficit to 14-10 and then junior Noa Yaakoby, who had 19 aces, served out the match.
“Noa decided to go away from her jump float serve and use her more consistent, but still aggressive serve,” Glass said. “She really put their passers on the defensive. “Her serving was key, but right in the middle of our comeback she also made a very difficult dig on a well hit ball that allowed us to score the tying point.”
“We focused on winning one point at a time, and we fought for every point,” Osorio said.
“Brooke had rotated to the front and St. Francis’ two key players were in the back row,” Glass said. “Although really tired from all the jumps she took as a hitter and as a jump server, Brooke fought through the mental challenges of playing fatigued.
“She relied on her teammates’ confi- dence in her to push through. Her last kill of the day may actually have been the hardest kill she had all day. “
Yaakoby added 13 kills and nine digs. Senior Andrea Hunt had 25 digs, 18 kills and 15 aces. Senior Sammie Sterkenburg had 46 assists. Felicia Whittaker and Heather Burns each had eight aces on the days. Whitney Schaub added four. She also had a dozen digs and 10 kills.
“The start of the season has been, obviously, one of our better starts for our program,” Glass said. “We have learned a lot about ourselves and continue to improve every day.”
And having Olesnavage helps.
“She’s a great asset to have on our team,” Osorio noted.
“Brooke has been a great addition to our program,” Glass said. “She’s had to improve her volleyball IQ, but she comes with all the athletic tools you need to be a dominating volleyball player.”
“We did not come out as strong as we did in the previous tournament,” said Northport coach Liz Wodek, comparing the team’s play to a light switch. “It seemed as if we were flipping on and off constantly.
“The tourney at Leland is always competitive and a great eye opener for many teams as to what their potential can be. The girls walked away with their heads held high competing against some of those great class C schools.”
Senior Dylan Burguard led the Wildcats on the day with 41 digs and 24 kills. Sam Mork also had 41 digs and added 21 kills. Senior Megan Popp had 40 assists, 31 digs and five aces. Sophomore Autumn Huck had 28 digs and 20 kills. Senior Rachel Thon added 19 digs and 18 kills.
Northport also placed third at the Frankfort tournament on Aug. 21.
The Wildcats lost to Mason County Central 25-16, 25-12 and split with Onekama and Frankfort. Northport beat Buckley 25-22, 25-23 before falling to Traverse City Central 25-15, 25-21.
Mork was tops in digs with 24 and aces with 14. Popp led the way with 76 assists. Burguard had 39 kills.
Last Thursday, the Wildcats beat Buckley in a nonleague match, 25-16, 25-20 and 25-14.
“Although we had play them on Tuesday, the Lady Cats came out strong and as if they hadn’t seen them on the court yet,” Wodek said. “They were eager at setting up every ball and played to the best of their ability.”
Popp had a team-leading 11 digs and 21 assists. Burguard had 15 kills and Thon had a team-best four aces.
The Wildcats are off until next Thursday when they host Manistee Catholic.
Glen Lake coach Ginny Clark admitted after the opening loss to Leland that her young team will have some growing pains.
“Leland is pretty good,” Clark said. “But it’s definitely a rebuilding year for us.
“We’re super young compared to some of the other teams out here. But as long as we keep improving, and they have so far, they can only go up.”
The Lakers return to action next Wednesday, Sept. 5 at Suttons Bay.
Glen Lake did report any other details of its other matches in the Leland Invitational. Suttons Bay did not report any results from its quad at Roscommon.