BATTLE CREEK — Leland’s volleyball season started and ended in the same place.
After the Comets began the campaign with a tournament in Battle Creek, coach Laurie Glass spoke to the team about a return trip in November.
The round-trip may have ended a couple days earlier than the Comets hoped, but they said it was a nice ride.
Waterford Our Lady of the Lakes ended Leland’s season Thursday in the Class D state semifinal at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena 25-21, 28-26, 25-21.
“We started out here with the tournament,” senior outside hitter Noa Yaakoby said. “And came back here.”
“We actually started talking about this Day One of practice,” Leland coach Laurie Glass said. “As we started our first match in Battle Creek, we said we wanted to have a round-trip ticket back to Battle Creek. And they achieved that. They set their minds to that and never looked back.”
Waterford (41-5-6) advances to its first state final in program history to face Battle Creek St. Philip — which knocked off Crystal Falls Forest Park 25-14, 25-22, 25-17 — in Saturday’s title game.
“Their serving was clearly really aggressive,” Glass said. “They mixed it up. They made some service errors, which kept us in the games. They had 21 service aces, which is tough when it’s a tight game.”
The Lakers had six players with at least three aces, led by Courtney Wightman’s five and Kali Bagley’s four. Caitlin McKee had five for Leland (33-15-7), while Yaakoby produced three.
Waterford Our Lady jumped out to a 10-5 lead in the third game, but Leland fought back to go up 12-11 on a Maddie Trumbull spike. The Lakers responded with a 10-3 run to go back in control. A Bagley ace ended it.
Leland had jumped out to a 5-1 second-game lead and extended that to 17-7. Waterford outscored the Comets 21-9 the rest of the way, but didn’t lead until 27-26 on a Kristina Krupiak kill. A Wightman ace ended it at 28-26.