Lindsey Ross (14) of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes blocks the ball back to Monica Freeman (13) of Marine City Cardinal Mooney during the third set of the MHSAA Class D quarterfinal match played on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013 at Mt. Morris Junior High. The Lakers defeated the Cardinals 25-13, 25-11, 25-14. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
VOLLEYBALL: Waterford Our Lady sweeps Cardinal Mooney in Class D quarters WITH TOUT VIDEOS
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes’ Devon Valent (L) tips the ball over Marine City Cardinal Mooney’s Anna Vorderbruggen (15) during the second set of the MHSAA Class D quarterfinal match played on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013 at Mt. Morris Junior High. WOLL won the match in straight sets 25-13, 25-11, 25-14. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Allison Samulon (3) of Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes watches her kill go past Kylie Schuh (10) of Marine City Cardinal Mooney during the first set of the MHSAA Class D quarterfinal match played on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013 at Mt. Morris Junior High. WOLL won the match in straight sets 25-13, 25-11, 25-14. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes teammates Lindsay Ross (14) and Courtney Wightman (5) go for the block on the hit from Marine City Cardinal Mooney’s Anna Monica Freeman (13) during the first set of the MHSAA Class D quarterfinal match played on Tuesday Nov. 19, 2013 at Mt. Morris Junior High. The Lakers defeated the Cardinals 25-13, 25-11, 25-14. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
MT. MORRIS – The Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes volleyball team was determined not to let history repeat itself on Tuesday.
Playing in the very gym the Lakers saw their 2012 season end in the Class D quarterfinals to Beal City, a motivated Our Lady squad stepped on the floor of Mt. Morris Junior High School and made quick work of Marine City Cardinal Mooney this time around, picking up a 25-13, 25-11, 25-14 sweep to advance to Thursday’s Class D semifinals in Battle Creek.
“It’s huge. It is so exciting. We got here, to the quarterfinals, last year. We couldn’t quite pull it out, but this year we were motivated, we were ready and I’m just so excited to get past this point and be moving forward,” WOLL coach Stephanie Swearingen said of the victory.
The win gives the Lakers (40-5-6) their first semifinals appearance in the new millennium, as they will face Leland at 2 p.m. on Thursday at the Kellogg Arena.
“Every win means something. This win is inspirational because we were disappointed with where we finished last year,” Swearingen said. “We played a great Beal City team that had some tremendous hitters. We knew from the first practice that this was an option and that we could get here and win and the girls have been fighting every day to do that. To win is a great triumph.”
The Lakers were able to produce lengthy rallies in each set that kept the Cardinals (28-12-2) from contending. The first set saw the Lakers leading 14-12 before they closed the match scoring 11 of the final 12 points.
Serving was a big story for both teams all night. The Lakers produced five aces in the opening set, two each coming from Courtney Wightman and Allison Samulon.
“Cardinal Mooney was out of system a little bit and just wasn’t able to get the ball to their middle hitters,” Swearingen said. “I think that we were really aggressive and our serving was really strong and a big key for us.”
The second set saw WOLL go on a 12-1 run midway through to establish a 16-5 lead that the Cardinals couldn’t bounce back from. Four Cardinal Mooney service errors aided the Lakers to the 25-11 victory.
“One of our strong suit is serving, and that is one of the things that let us down (Tuesday),” Cardinal Mooney coach Dennis Caulfield said. “Whether it was nerves, or whatever it was, it hurt us.”
The Cardinals took a 5-2 lead in the third game before the Lakers scored five straight and established a lead it wouldn’t relinquish. WOLL had five more aces in the final frame while the Cardinals committed three more service errors.
“We started off each match in contention and then the girls started to over-think themselves and forgot the things that got them here,” Caulfield said. “One thing lead to another, and (WOLL) got some serious runs on us and we just couldn’t overcome it.”
Samulon, one of six seniors on the Our Lady squad, had a kill to setup the game-winning point, which was an ace by freshman Lindsay Wightman.
“Last year was supposed to be our big year and we were all really disappointed when we lost,” Samulon said. “This year, coming into our first tournament, we really felt like we could win. This win is just another step.”
Samulon finished with seven kills, two aces and one block for the Lakers while Lindsay Wightman tallied three aces.
Courtney Wightman finished with seven kills and four aces for WOLL while Devon Valent had five kills and two blocks and Kristina Krupiak chipped in with six kills and two aces.
WOLL is cruising into Thursday’s semifinal, as the Lakers have yet to drop a set in the postseason.
“This is a motivated bunch,” Swearingen said. “We are looking at an end point and aren’t satisfied with just this win. We have bigger goals and it starts with Thursday’s semifinal match and giving that match our full attention.”