Inland Lakes Ends Historic Season with State Runner-Up Finish
BATTLE CREEK — Inland Lakes competed in its first state championship in volleyball Saturday morning against 21-time state champion Battle Creek St. Philip, and the Bulldogs lost in three sets. The Tigers added onto their state record with a 22nd state title.
The Bulldogs kept it close early in the first set, as it was tied at 16. But that’s when St. Philip turned it on, ending the set on a 9-1 run to win 25-17.
They kept it going in the second by coming out with an 8-1 lead early and winning that set, 25-12. They then took the third, 25-8.
Inland Lakes exceeded expectations this season, winning a district and regional title. It was just their second regional title in program history. The Bulldogs made their first trip to the state semifinals where they defeated Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart to secure their first state championship appearance. Despite the loss, they were proud of the accomplishment.
“I think the mental ability of this team, the leadership on this team is what made the difference. Yeah, we’re undersized. There’s a lot of people here that are way taller than us,” Inland Lakes head coach Nicole Moore said.
“Their grit, their leadership. That’s what surprised people over and over again.”
The Bulldogs graduate four seniors who played a key role in this run and became the first senior class to compete in Battle Creek for the state semis and championship.
“We’ve all played together for a really long time, and our school is so small. Ryann and Natalie are juniors, and we played with them in seventh grade because we didn’t have any girls,” Inland Lakes senior Alyssa Byrne said.
“We played volleyball as long as we could.”