2017-09-07 / Sports

Martin, Lady Comets back to full strength

By Jay Bushen
Sports Editor

LELAND PLAYERS are all smiles Tuesday as they reveal their 2016 Final Four banner, the 20th in program history. The banner completes the 4x5 grouping of banners behind the backboard on the south wall of the gym. LELAND PLAYERS are all smiles Tuesday as they reveal their 2016 Final Four banner, the 20th in program history. The banner completes the 4x5 grouping of banners behind the backboard on the south wall of the gym. Leland’s seemingly routine sweep of Buckley took an unexpected turn on Tuesday.

That’s because coach Laurie Glass made an unexpected substitution in the third set, sending a teary-eyed Allie Martin in to serve.

Martin, who had missed about six months with an ACL injury, was finally cleared to play.

“I’m just overjoyed to be back out on the court with my team,” Martin said after the match. “It’s been such a long haul with this whole knee thing, and I’ve worked so hard for the last six months. It’s been nonstop work, so I’m super thankful to be able to come back out here and play.”

It’s safe to say the No. 2 Comets (8-5-2, 1-0 Northwest) are thankful to have her back, even if it’s with a knee brace. Martin, a junior outside hitter, was an all-state first-team honoree as a freshman and as a sophomore.

She amassed 554 kills, 116 aces and 507 digs a year ago.

Her presence on the court will likely bring a big boost to the Comets.

“When she started crying, I started crying,” said fellow outside hitter Rowan Wilson, the team’s only returning senior. “Not only because she’s a great player, but also because her enthusiasm and communication on the court have helped me a lot. Playing the same position, we can talk to each other and help each other out.

“It was good to see her back in.”

Martin’s return was hardly a distraction for the Comets, who handled Buckley with relative ease (25-13, 25-3, 25-6).

Glass would have liked to see a stronger start.

“I think every match matters and we learn lessons from every match,” Glass said. “I thought we sort of came out slow and needed to refocus our energies on the task at hand and come in with a different energy.

“I thought they did that.”

Wilson led the way in Leland’s Northwest Conference opener with seven kills, nine aces and four digs. Gillian Grobbel added seven kills and Talia Yaakoby supplied six kills and five digs. Ella Siddall distributed 19 assists and dropped in six aces.


Portagers sweep Suttons Bay

A tough start to the 2017 season continued Tuesday as the Suttons Bay volleyball team traveled to Onekama for its Northwest Conference opener.

The Portagers dispatched the Lady Norse in straight sets (25-17, 25-12, 25-22), meaning Suttons Bay (0-8, 0-1 Northwest) is still in search of its first win.

“We knew this would be a rebuilding year,” second-year coach Kelly Mokanyk said. “With each set the girls are getting more mature and confident on the court. Grace Periard showed new abilities tonight and made the ball go where we needed it off of turbulent passing. Also, our middle Mya Shaw is growing into a lead hitter.”

Individual stats from the loss were not available at press time.

Suttons Bay will be back in action Tuesday at Buckley. They’ll return home for more Northwest Conference action on Sept. 19 against Benzie.

Leland shows well downstate

Rowan Wilson and the No. 2 Lady Comets posted a 2-3 record against top-notch competition Friday in the Temperance Bedford Invitational.

One of only two Class D teams in attendance, Leland posted wins over the No. 6 team in Class B, Marshall (25-20, 20-25, 15-12), and Adrian (25-13, 25-10) while taking losses to Mt. Morris (25-23, 25-21), Adrian (24-26, 25-22, 15-11), and the No. 3 team in Class A, Novi (25-11, 25-13).

“Throughout the day we performed really well,” Wilson said. “There were moments we could have done better, but we played really good competition. I’d way rather play really good competition than poor competition and win every tournament.

“It makes us better in the long run.”

Wilson finished with team highs in kills with 53 and digs with 61. She also posted a team-best hitting-percentage clip of .256. Maddy Grosvenor had an efficient day, as well, with a .250 hitting percentage and 13 kills. Grosvenor added 36 digs for good measure. Other standouts were Hanna Elwell (17 kills, 11 digs), Ella Siddall (101 assists, 16 digs), Margie Stowe (44 digs) and Talia Yaakoby (20 digs, 14 digs).

The Comets will be back in action Tuesday in a huge matchup at Kingsley, the reigning conference champion.

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