2016-11-10 / Sports

Comets sweep Bellaire, cruise into regional title match

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


RIGHT: After a shaky start, Leland coach Laurie Glass calms her Comets down during a timeout. RIGHT: After a shaky start, Leland coach Laurie Glass calms her Comets down during a timeout. Big swings and pinpoint serves propelled Leland to a regional semifinal sweep of host Bellaire on Tuesday (25-16, 25-14, 25-19), advancing the Comets to Thursday’s regional championship game against Forest Area.

The victory was career win No. 998 for Leland coach Laurie Glass, who has a chance to potentially secure win No. 1,000 on Tuesday.

It’s safe to say that’s the last thing Glass and the Comets (40-10-4) are concerned with at this point, however.

The Comets battled through butterflies and a handful of uncharacteristic miscues early in Tuesday’s match, their first road game of the 2016 postseason, until outside hitters Allie Martin and Rowan Wilson provided a spark.

“I thought we started out pretty tight,” Glass said after the match. “I thought we were playing with energy, but pretty tight. It took them a little while, but that’s a credit to their ability to steady the tide and get the job done.”

ABOVE: Ella Siddall (3) sets up a Leland teammate during first-set action at Bellaire on Tuesday.ABOVE: Ella Siddall (3) sets up a Leland teammate during first-set action at Bellaire on Tuesday.
The team has won 12 of 13 sets so far this postseason, but the high-caliber competition awaits deeper in the tournament.

“The pressure’s only going to get worse, so this is a good place to practice that,” Glass said. “Everyone got to play, everyone got a taste of what it felt like to be in a big match like that.

“Credit to Bellaire, they kept the pressure on in the end.”

A balanced attack helped secure the first set, but an impressive showing from Martin at the service line was the story of the second stanza. The sophomore standout picked Bellaire apart as the Comets opened up a 13-3 lead. She finished with eight aces to go with four kills and 10 digs.


RIGHT: Allie Martin was on fire from the service line Tuesday, finishing the game with eight aces. RIGHT: Allie Martin was on fire from the service line Tuesday, finishing the game with eight aces. “All credit to (assistant coach Travis Baker), who does all the serve-calling from the bench,” Glass said. “Where they serve and how they’re serving is directly attributable to what he’s setting up. Give him some credit.”

Wilson led all hitters with 12 kills, Ella Siddall distributed 20 assists and Julie Bardenhagen delivered a team-high 12 digs.

Kira Metcalf put together a nice performance inside, meanwhile, making the most of her opportunities from Siddall.

“That’s all on her,” Metcalf said of the sophomore setter. “She’s distributing the ball and making sure everyone’s getting opportunities and keeping the other side on their toes.”


BELOW: Rowan Wilson (4) reacts to an emphatic third-set kill with her teammates. BELOW: Rowan Wilson (4) reacts to an emphatic third-set kill with her teammates. Bellaire coach Kelli Fischer said she was disappointed to see her team fall behind after a nice start in the first frame.

“I knew it was going to be a battle,” Fischer said. “They’re a tough team. Obviously, coming off a state championship last year, we knew they were going to be here ... but our girls didn’t fold, they didn’t give in. I asked them to give it their all and they did. That’s all I can ask from them.”

Leland carried its momentum over from the district tournament, where the Comets won their sixth straight trophy.

The Comets dispatched Northport in straight sets last Wednesday (25-3, 25-12, 25-8) before sweeping Traverse City Christian in Friday’s championship game (25-10, 25-10, 25-14).

Glass said she never takes the district tournament lightly.

“It’s always the first step to getting to the next step,” she said. “We don’t take anything for granted. We’re happy to get that hardware and look forward to hoping we get some more.”

The team will look to bring home the regional trophy tonight in Bellaire.

The winner will head to Buckley on Tuesday for a state semifinal showdown at 7 p.m.




Correction: This story has been updated to reflect the correct career win total for Laurie Glass, which was 998 following the win over Bellaire.

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