Bobcats spikers win regular season title

Published 3:30 am Friday, October 15, 2010


Niles Daily Star

Brandywine swept through the regular season unbeaten in volleyball against Lakeland Conference members with a 25-16, 25-19 and 25-18 victory over visiting Bridgman Thursday night to finalize the accomplishment.

“It is very good to go unbeaten, but the conference tournament will be the real test to see if we are improving,” Brandywine coach Nikki Bush said.

Bridgman (20-10-5, 1-4) went ahead 4-1 in both of the first two games and had a 9-3 advantage in the latter thanks to the serving of seniors Ashley Pratt and Lisa Bowman, along with juniors Taylor Ruff and Rachel Stemm.

Junior Lanisha Brann of Brandywine (30-9, 6-0) though had streaks of seven and five points in the first two games to cushion a 14-13 lead in the opener and overcome a 9-13 disadvantage in the nightcap.

“Brann is serving well and our rotation works out well with passers to get it to our hitters up front,” noted Bush. “I would like to see where we stand when Morgan (Smallwood) gets back.”

The senior Smallwood has had to sit out the last three games after injuring her ankle attempting to block a shot in practice and landed on a teammate, but got to see some action on her birthday.

“It is tough not being able to play, but still need to support the team and very happy to win conference.”  said Smallwood. “I have complete confidence in the girls and Ashley DeJonge has played well, but hope to be back next week by taking it day by day.”

Leading the statistics for the visitors were Stemm (11 kills — 2 blocks), Pratt (15 digs) and Ruff with 13 assists.

“Brandywine is a tough team with a lot of talented, versatile girls, but I am proud of my team as we did pretty well,” commented Bridgman coach Elaine Starbuck. “We know what to work on and the future is looking good with some young girls coming up.”

Seniors Lauren Leonard and Kelsey Prestlly had 13 and 11 kills respectively to go along with six and five blocks.  Sophomores Mackenzie Shelton and Jessica Cooper contributed with 15 digs and 22 assists respectively.

Cooper finished off the second game with a pair of aces as she shared top honor with four standout serves with Leonard.

“We all want to win state and we need to pursue it as much as possible,” concluded Smallwood.

Bridgman captured the junior varsity contest by overcoming a 9-3 deficit in the third game by scores of 25-19, 21-25 and 15-13.  The Brandywine freshmen also got beat by scores of 25-17 and 25-20.