Wildcats fall to Gull Lake in Regionals

Haley Hagen • couriersports@vineyardpress.biz
Taylor Rutgers, with her ponytail flying, plays hard at the net for Mattawan in the Wildcats’ Regional semi-final contest against Gull Lake. Rutgers led the Wildcats with 22 kills on this night, but the Blue Devils ousted Mattawan from the tournament, 3-1. The Michigan High School Athletic Association ranked the Wildcats third in Division 1 at the end of the regular season.   Haley Hagen photo

   The Mattawan volleyball team suffered a tough season-ending loss to the Gull Lake Blue Devils in the Regional semi-final match. The Wildcats, ranked third in the state in Division 1 by the Michigan High School Athletic Association at the end of the regular season, won the opening set, but dropped the next three, resulting in a 3-1 loss.
   In the first set, Mattawan trailed 17-19, when the team rallied together to a 20-19 lead. The score remained close, but two points from Kathryn Puzevic sealed the opening set, 25-22, for the Wildcats.
   Mattawan took an early 9-2 lead in the second set, but Gull Lake fought back with four unanswered points. Mattawan held the lead until late in the set when the Blue Devils took it back, 24-23. The score was tied twice before Gull Lake won the set, 28-26.
   During the third game, neither  team led by more than three points at any time. A kill from Natalie Foster tied the set at 14. Mattawan fought to change the momentum, but fell short, 25-22.
   The Wildcats trailed 14-19 in the fourth game when they slowly started cutting into the Blue Devils lead. Taylor Rutgers laid down a kill to draw Mattawan to within three, 19-22; then the Wildcats tied the game at 24 and again at 25, but the Blue Devils finally scored two straight points to take the match, 27-25.
   Rutgers led the Wildcats in kills with 22. Foster ended the night with 21 kills and three digs. Allie Wiese led the team in digs with 23.
   Throughout their tournament run, the Wildcats had not lost a single game, blanking all their opponents 3-0.

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