Walled Lake Central may be the up-and-coming team in the lakes area, but Huron Valley Lakeland was quick to remind the Vikings that a division title goes through the Eagles.
Lakeland defeated Central in three straight games, 25-16, 25-15 and 25-13 on Thursday, Sept. 20 to remain atop the Kensington Lakes Activities Association (KLAA) North Division with a perfect 5-0 division record while Central remains in second-place.
Setter Kelly Merle finished with 34 assists and 8 kills for Lakeland (12-4) while libero Carolyn Neuhaus had 20 digs and outside hitter Lindsay Tanner had 13 kills.
Brittany Guldan led Central (17-5-1 overall, 4-1 in the KLAA North) with 5 kills, 7 digs, 1 ace and 8 assists, while Mikaela Beck had 5 kills and 3 aces.
“We made so many errors which you can’t afford to do against a solid team like Lakeland,” said Central Head Coach Cathy Johnson.
The Eagles began their week with a three-game victory at home over Waterford Kettering, 25-15, 25-9 and 25-19 on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Merle led Lakeland with 35 assists, 10 kills and 5 aces. Tanner hit .330 for the match and sophomore Maddie Harris hit .500.
Central then took on Walled Lake Western on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and defeated the Warriors in 3 games, 25-17, 25-18 and 25-13.
Guldan led the Vikings with 10 kills and 14 assists, while Beck had 13 kills and Catelyn Girard had 20 assists and 4 aces.
“We played an outstanding match against Western on Wednesday night. We played consistent, tough volleyball that night,” Johnson said.
The Vikings then traveled to the Bedford Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 22 and went 3-1 in pool play by defeating Plymouth Canton (23-25, 25-23, 15-13), New Boston Huron (25-21, 27-25) and Fenton (16-25, 27-25, 15-10), while also falling to host Bedford (12-25, 25-23, 11-15).
Central then played in the Gold Bracket quarter-finals and fell to New Boston Huron in a rematch, 20-25, 21-25.
Guldan led the Vikings with 34 kills, 22 assists and 31 digs. Girard had 40 assists and 9 aces and Alex Picardal had 34 digs and 2 aces.
“We played some matches in which our volleyball was very high-caliber and then we would have other matches where the amount of unforced errors just killed the match for us,” Johnson said.
The Vikings hosted Waterford Mott on Monday, Sept. 24 and will play at Waterford Kettering on Thursday, Sept. 27.
“Hopefully our squad will get healthy very soon as we enter the second half of league play and the season. If we can clean up the unforced errors, I know we will be very successful for the rest of the season,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Lakeland began the second half of its division schedule at home against Walled Lake Northern on Monday, Sept. 24 after press time, and will travel to Waterford Mott on Thursday, Sept. 27.