BY CHRIS DOBROWOLSKI
---- — LELAND — Leland volleyball coach Laurie Glass is focused on one team as the Comets prepare for tonight’s Class D regional semifinal.
Glass and the Comets start regional play in Buckley against Bear Lake, but the Leland coach has put her attention on the one team she can control — her own.
“We’ve learned throughout the season to focus our attention on things we can control, not get caught up in the things we can’t control. We have no control over what happens on their side of the net. We can only control what happens on our side of the net,” said Glass. “I just think it matters what we do. I just think we’re as susceptible as anyone is if you get into error, error, error, error, error. You get swallowed up in that I think anybody can lose.”
Leland withstood a stellar start by Traverse City Christian in the district championship game as the Comets won their third consecutive district crown.
“It was a great match,” said Glass. “We weren’t playing badly. They were playing very well. Early on in the season I would have to talk kids through getting rattled, or letting one mistake lead to another mistake, and there just wasn’t any of that happening. That just shows the maturity of the team as we’ve grown this season. I think we’re moving in the right direction. This is a good time to come together as a team. I think it’s important for us to be aggressive with our serving and cause other teams passing difficulty and I think it’s important to play the next point.”
The Leland-Bear Lake contest is the nightcap of a doubleheader that starts at 5 p.m. with Bellaire and Au Gres.
The Comets are the defending regional champion, as is Traverse City St. Francis, which is looking to repeat its run to the state finals. To do that the Gladiators will have to upend Boyne City tonight at 5:30 p.m. in McBain in a rematch of last year’s regional semifinal match where St. Francis swept the Ramblers. Earlier this year, Boyne defeated the Gladiators. The St. Francis-Boyne City winner will meet the winner of the second match in McBain between Beal City and Houghton Lake.
St. Francis won the district crown by knocking off McBain in a four-game championship match.
Traverse City West also is returning to the regional, but the Titans are looking to win a match this time after getting ousted by Grand Haven in last year’s semifinals. West will face Midland Dow in Grayling at 7 p.m. Flushing plays at Davison in the other semifinal. The regional championship will be in Mount Pleasant.
Both West and Dow are coming off district championship victories over their rivals with West winning the title over TC Central and Dow beating Midland. Dow is in the regional for the third time since 2007.
In other regional matchups, Cadillac takes on Houghton and Ludington faces Grant in Class B action in Gaylord. In Class D action in St. Ignace, Brimley plays Engadine and Onaway meets Pellston in a contest between Ski Valley Conference foes.