LELAND — Make it three in a row for the Leland Comets.
Sparked by seniors Noa Yaakoby and Caitlin McKee, Leland captured its third consecutive Class D district volleyball title Thursday night, turning back Traverse City Christian 25-22, 25-8, 25-20.
Yaakoby — who had 12 kills, two aces and eight digs — was playing with a heavy heart. Her mother passed away earlier in the day from cancer.
“It was nice to have Noa with us,” Leland junior Whitney Schaub said. “It was nice to be a team — and win. We pulled through. We were strong for our teammate. We kept together.”
The Comets were tested, particularly in the first game. Leland was clinging to a 23-22 lead before scoring the last two points, a kill by Eva Grobbel ending it.
“They put up a lot fight in that first game,” Leland coach Laurie Glass said. “It could have been anybody’s game. I thought everybody was digging a lot of balls and it makes for exciting volleyball.
“We were hitting the ball well. We were running a pretty complicated offense, but they weren’t letting anything drop on the floor. You have a tendency to want to do more when (teams) are doing that. It was nice for us to stay in our own thing, and do our own thing well, and not try to create great plays — just do what we know how to do best.”
The Sabres had trouble handling Leland’s serve in the second game, one in which the Comets jumped out to a 14-1 lead. Leland had 11 aces in the game.
“Our serves got more aggressive,” Schaub said.
Leland struck early in the third game as well, building a 7-1 cushion. But Christian fought back, closing to within 22-20 late.
“I’ve got great players,” Sabres coach Jodi Cannon said. “The girls really wanted this win. (Leland’s) a long-standing rival.