Senior shows leadership as Brandywine falls in district opener

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, November 2, 2021

BRIDGMAN — Brandywine senior Haley Scott did all she could to rally her team to a playoff victory, but it was not enough in a 3-1 Division 3 District-opening loss to Watervliet Monday night.

As the Bobcats fell behind to the Panthers during the first round of district play at Bridgman High School, Scott became like a coach after every point and during every timeout.

Ultimately, her efforts on and off the court were not enough, as Watervliet pulled away in four sets — 25-19, 19-25, 21-25, 14-25.

“Hailey is like our emotional support,” said first-year Brandywine coach Emily Zablocki-Kohler. “She’s definitely a vocal leader. Sometimes I’m like, ‘did you read my mind?’”

Senior Elizabeth Stockdale led the Bobcats with five aces, 33 assists and 16 digs. Scott finished with 12 kills and two blocks, while senior Olivia Laurita had 11 digs.

“Our seniors have done a fabulous job,” Zablocki-Kohler said. “Whether it’s being our libero and playing every ball, Liz is out there like a gangbuster as a setter, and she goes and gets everything. The seniors have been great. It was a great group to come into.”

Sophomore Kadence Brummitt had a team-high 14 kills, and added three aces. Sophomore Tressa Hullinger had two blocks.

“We’re really young, so I know there’s really exciting things for the future,” Zablocki-Kohler said. “But we’re going to miss those seniors a lot.”

For the Panthers, the momentum began to build in the second set and never let up.

“We had a little bit of a slow start in the first game,” said Watervliet coach Edie Daughtery, whose team has just two seniors. “I think with our team being so young, it took some of them a minute to regroup and find the rhythm.”

After the first set, the Panthers seemed relaxed and happy, and it translated to the court. In particular, junior Samantha Dietz kept her team engaged with infectious energy, enthusiasm and some timely kills, Daugherty said.

By the middle of the fourth set, the entire Panthers team was smiling, and the sizable student section was chanting “we want Buchanan.”

“It’s always a positive when you have players like that,” Daughtery said. “It’s very genuine, which makes it really nice. They gel together. it’s a very positive deal. Their energy definitely feeds off of one another.”

Watervliet takes on Buchanan at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in the district semifinal at Bridgman High School.