Leland Sweeps its Way to State Final
BATTLE CREEK – Top-ranked Leland swept Carney-Nadeau on Friday in a MHSAA Division 4 semifinal to punch its first ticket to a state final since winning the 2015 Class D championship.
Facing the ninth-ranked Wolves at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena, the Comets won by scores of 25-21, 25-14 and 25-16.
“I’m super excited for these kids,” Leland coach Laurie Glass said. “I think they’ve worked really hard all season long with the big dream to try and get down here and get to the finals. And I think they’ve done that and achieved the goal that they set out to do this year.”
After a slow start in the match, Leland was dominant in the second set, opening with a 10-4 lead before extending its leads to 14 at 20-6.
The Comets continued to dominate in the third set, again getting off to a fast start with a 13-4 lead.
Leland’s dominance in the second and third sets was aided by its service game coming alive as the Comets recorded 15 aces in the match including five from Ella Siddall.
Friday’s opening set began in back-and-forth fashion with the Comets (47-10-1) trailing 19-17 before going on to win eight of the final 10 points.
Hannah Elwell led the Comets with a match-high 17 kills while Allie Martin tallied eight kills and 13 digs. Tatum Kareck also had seven kills.
Layla Blahnik-Thoune paced the Wolves with six kills.
Friday’s match was the first-ever appearance in the state semifinals for Carney-Nadeau (26-4-1). The Wolves became the first team in program history this fall to win a regional championship.
Leland will now face No. 2 Mendon for the state title Saturday. Mendon handed Southfield Christian a 3-0 loss in Friday’s earlier semifinal. A win Saturday would give Leland its sixth state title in its 12th state final appearance.
“At this point in time, you feel like every team you play is the next best team in the state, so you just prepare the same,” Glass said. “We’ll prepare the same tomorrow as we did for the other opponents. You figure that every team has a reason to get to this point in time and Mendon is just one more team between us and the goal we’re trying to achieve.”
Saturday’s match is slated for 10 a.m.