MONTAGUE – No matter the sport, the Montague vs. Whitehall rivalry guarantees intensity and grit from both teams.
That’s even more so the case in volleyball, since both schools have strong programs and recent West Michigan Conference championships, and both teams came into Tuesday’s match without a league loss.
Both the Wildcats and Vikings fought hard and had some success, but in the end it was Montague that took advantage of the home crowd, played a more polished match and claimed a big 3-1 victory.
The set scores were 17-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-23.
“We know these guys and we know they’re good,” Montague coach Shawn Bectel said about Whitehall. “But in the last six or seven years we haven’t dropped a lot of conference matches, the girls take that to heart, and we come out and battle. We really prepared for this.”
Whitehall got off to a good start, overcoming an early Montague advantage with four-point and seven-point service runs by Brianna Hamann and Bella Fogus, respectively. to jump out to a 21-12 lead in the first set. Montague attempted a comeback but the Vikings closed out a 25-17 win.
The Wildcats grabbed a 9-3 lead in the second set before another seven-point service run by Fogus gave the Vikings a 15-14 edge. Montague answered with a seven service points by Laura Borras and evened the match with a 25-18 win.
“It felt like we gave that game to Montague with setting errors and hitting errors,” said Whitehall coach Ted Edsall.
Although the final two sets were close, Whitehall rarely led. The Wildcats were able to take advantage of small cushions to coast to wins of 25-19 and 25-23 to close out the match.
Leading the Wildcat offense was Borras, who posted 18 total kills on the night, while Anastasia Trevino added 11. Jaelyn Sundberg dished out 41 assists for Montague and Alyssa Wynn paced the defense with 20 digs.
Kayla Mulder had 15 kills for Whitehall while Sydney Shepherd had 40 assists.
Montague improved to 12-14 overall and 3-0 in conference play. Whitehall fell to 8-15-4 overall and 1-1 in the league.