The premier volleyball rivalry in the lakes area was renewed on Thursday, Sept. 6, with Huron Valley Lakeland defeating its Bogie Lake Road sister, Walled Lake Northern, in three games, 25-20, 25-15, 25-10.
The match was the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division opener for both teams.
The Eagles (8-4, in the 1-0 KLAA North) have won all four North Division titles in the KLAA’s history, while the Knights (4-2-1, 0-1 in the KLAA North) shared the division title with Lakeland in 2009 and last season.
Last Thursday’s match was also the first meeting between new Lakeland Head Coach Jean Dukic and new Northern Head Coach Gus Dumlao.
While stats for Lakeland were not available at press time, Dukic said his team outplayed Northern in every facet of the game.
“Senior setter Kelly Merkle led the way offensively with tremendous serving and she was also very effective with the setter dump. Senior libero Carolyn Neihaus lead the way defensively with almost perfect serve receive,” Dukic said.
Gabrielle Bauer, Courtney Sullivan and Peyton Lang each had five kills for the Knights while Katie Simon had four aces and 14 assists.
Bauer and Sullivan also each had a block while Melissa Griffiths had 11 digs.
“We are determined to move forward from this match and even use this defeat to motivate them to play at a higher level. The players on this team are competitive and they have the ability to learn and become stronger from their experiences,” Dumlao said.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, Lakeland then hosted its Lakeland Invitational, during which it went undefeated in pool play as it bested Plymouth Salem (25-8, 25-20), Farmington (25-19, 25-21) and Okemos (25-10, 25-14) and earned the No. 1 seed in bracket play.
However, the Eagles would fall to eventual invitational champion Northville, 28-26 and 25-20, in the tournament semi-finals.
Merkle had 85 assists, eight aces, and 28 kills for the invitational, while Maddie Harris only had two hitting errors on the day and Neihaus had 32 digs.
Lakeland hosted Waterford Mott on Tuesday, Sept. 11 after press time and will travel to Walled Lake Western on Thursday, Sept. 13 before hosting Waterford Kettering on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Northern played at Walled Lake Western on Tuesday, Sept. 11 after press time and will next host Walled Lake Central tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 13 before playing at Mott on Tuesday, Sept. 18.