The Brandywine Bobcats claimed a share of the Lakeland Conference champions by winning the league tourney. Brandywine defeated Buchanan 2-1 in the tournament finals to gain a piece of the title. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

Archived Story

Brandywine gets share of volleyball crown

Published 9:26pm Thursday, October 25, 2012

One had to wonder if the Brandywine volleyball team would recover from losing an 11-point lead in the first set of the Lakeland Conference Volleyball championship match Thursday.

The answer was yes.

Despite falling to regular season champion Buchanan 26-24 in the first set, the Bobcats regrouped and rallied for a 2-1 victory and a share of the league title.

Brandywine defeated the Bucks 25-21 and 15-10 in the final two sets to grab a piece of the title.

“Honestly, I told them we were going to take them in three games. We are going to get to the third game,” Brandywine coach Carl Greulich said of his message to the team after the first set. “I felt we were a better team and that we could go out there and take the next two from them.”

The Bobcats did just that. After tying the match at 1-1, Greulich knew his team could not make a mistake in the third set.

Brandywine didn’t make many, grabbed an 8-6 lead on an Alissa Gamble kill and never looked back.

The set was tied five times in the opening moments, the last being at 6-6. Ashley DeJonge dumped a ball over the net from her setter position for a kill to give the Bobcats the lead for good at 7-6.

Mackenzie Shelton followed up Gamble’s kill with another and then Gamble and Jessy Cooper came up with a big block, Brandywine led 10-6.

Cooper recorded another kill to make it 11-6.

The two teams traded kills with Dani Dale’s winner cutting the league 13-10 forcing the Bobcats into a time out.

Victoria Knight then picked up a kill to move Brandywine within a point of the title. And when Shelton’s 25th kill of the evening hit the floor, the celebration commenced.

“The kids made it happen,” Greulich said. “The energy level that picked up in the second game and carried into the third game, that momentum was hard to stop. We were pumped and on the last four points we let it all go.”

Shelton led the Bobcats with 25 kills, 20 digs and three aces. Cooper finished with 16 kills and 28 assists. DeJonge chipped in with 19 assists, while Abby Cole had had 17 digs and Justine Sater three aces. Gamble finished with three blocks.

Buchanan coach Lisa Holak was not happy with the way her team performed in the finals, but said it was kind of the way the entire season had gone for the Bucks.

“That’s the story of our season,” she said. “We like to beat ourselves. Until we learn how we fix that, unfortunately that’s how our season is going to end.”

Brandywine reached the finals with a 25-14, 25-16 win over Bridgman.

 

Lakeland Conference Volleyball

Championship match

Brandywine d. Buchanan 2-1

 

Third place match

Bridgman d. Cassopolis 2-0

 

First round

Brandywine d. Bridgman 2-0

Buchanan d. Cassopolis 2-0

 

Regular season standings

Buchanan 3-0

Brandywine 2-1

Bridgman 1-2

Cassopolis 0-3

 

Final standings

1. Buchanan, 1. Brandywine, 3. Bridgman, 4. Cassopolis

Regular season Lakeland Conference champion Buchanan had to share the title after falling to Brandywine in the league tournament finals. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

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