With a perfect 5-0 record last week, Walled Lake Central appears to have established itself as the new challenger to Huron Valley Lakeland in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division.
The Vikings made that point apparent on Thursday, Sept. 13 as they pulled off a thrilling five-game victory over Walled Lake Northern, the team that has shared the KLAA North title with Lakeland in two of the previous four seasons.
It was a back-and-forth match in which the Vikings (13-2-1 overall, 3-0 in the KLAA North) won the first game, 25-15, before the Knights responded by taking the second game, 25-14.
Central then took a 2-1 lead by winning the third game, 25-21, but Northern (8-3-1, 1-2 in the KLAA North) tied the match with a 25-15 victory in the fourth game.
In the fifth and deciding game, Central won 15-13 to take the match and move into a tie with Lakeland atop the KLAA North.
“We are still struggling to play consistent high-level volleyball for entire matches. However, I’m so proud of our team for staying strong and coming back after setbacks in matches to win the match,” said Central Head Coach Cathy Johnson. “The bottom line is that we are getting the wins even if it’s not the prettiest volleyball for complete matches. We have been using various lineups to find our strongest rotations and I know that these struggles will actually benefit us as we continue along with the season.”
Brittany Guldan led Central with 9 kills and 11 assists, while Catelyn Girard had 28 assists and 4 kills and Mikaela Beck had 9 kills and an ace.
Courtney Sullivan had 16 kills for the Knights, while Gabrielle Bauer had 13 kills and Peyton Lang notched 12 kills.
Katie Simon had four aces and 14 assists, while Natalie Giudici had 12 assists.
Keara Boyle made 5 blocks while Melissa Griffiths had 35 digs.
Central began its week with a five-game victory at home over Waterford Kettering on Tuesday, Sept. 11. The Vikings won the first two games, 25-16 and 25-19, before the Captains rebounded to take the next two games, 25-19 and 35-33.
Central would then win the fifth and deciding game, 15-9.
Guldan had 16 kills, 20 assists and 9 digs for Central, while Girard had 26 assists, 4 kills and 2 aces.
Alex Picardal had 24 digs and 2 aces while Sydney Daviskiba had 15 digs and 4 aces and Katie Lusk had 9 kills.
Northern began its week with a victory over Walled Lake Western in three games, 25-11, 26-14 and 25-17.
Lang led the Knights with 12 kills and 18 digs, while Sullivan had 11 kills, 3 aces and 5 blocks.
Simon also had 14 assists. Giudici had 12 assists.
Griffiths also had 23 digs, and Gabrielle Bauer had 18 digs.
Both Central and Northern then teamed with Walled Lake Western to compete in the inaugural Lakes vs. Fields Volleyball Classic at West Bloomfield on Saturday, Sept. 15.
The Vikings went 3-0 last Saturday, defeating Bloomfield Hills Andover (22-25, 25-18, 15-7), host West Bloomfield (25-17, 27-25) and Bloomfield Hills Lahser (25-20, 25-22).
Guldan had 17 kills, 16 assists, 3 aces and 25 digs for Central. Girard had 24 assists, 9 kills and 2 aces, Picardal had 19 digs, and Lusk had 12 kills.
As for the Knights, they also went undefeated at West Bloomfield last Saturday, defeating Lahser (25-16, 25-14), Andover (25-20, 25-7) and West Bloomfield (25-17, 25-23).
Sullivan had 17 kills for the Knights and a total of 11 blocks. Simon also had 21 assists and 5 aces, while Griffiths had 28 digs and Lang had 27 digs.
Central hosted rival Walled Lake Western yesterday, Tuesday, Sept. 18 after press time and will next play at first-place Huron Valley Lakeland tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 20.
Northern will next play at Waterford Mott tonight, Wednesday, Sept. 19, before hosting Waterford Kettering tomorrow.