2017-11-09 / Sports

Bobcat netters beat TC St. Francis, to play for Regional crown tonight


UNDAUNTED AT THE NET Houghton Lake’s Kelli Ignat (right) goes up for a block against Traverse City St. Francis hitter Molly Mirabelli (7) during the Bobcats’ home Re­gional win over the Gladiators Nov. 7. Ignat had seven solo blocks during the evening. (Photo by Thomas Reznich) UNDAUNTED AT THE NET Houghton Lake’s Kelli Ignat (right) goes up for a block against Traverse City St. Francis hitter Molly Mirabelli (7) during the Bobcats’ home Re­gional win over the Gladiators Nov. 7. Ignat had seven solo blocks during the evening. (Photo by Thomas Reznich) “It was a huge win for us last night against a very established program,” said Houghton Lake varsity volleyball Coach Larry Kelley of his team’s four-set win over visiting Traverse City St. Francis in the first round of the Regional Tourna­ment Tuesday night.

The Bobcats will now host Elk Rap­ids in the Regional Final tonight (Thurs­day) at 7 p.m.

After winning the first set 25-16, the Gladiators, led by standout hitter Molly Mirabelli, battled back for a 25-23 win in the second. During the second set, the Bobcats managed to come back from a 16-10 deficit to gain a 23-22 lead, but St. Francis took the last three points for the win.


SEASON ON THE LINE Houghton Lake’s Lauren Perry (9) serves for one of her three aces dur­ing the Bobcats’ first-round regional match against visiting Traverse City St. Francis Nov. 7. Also pictured is Houghton Lake libero Alexis Souder (7) who led the Bobcats’ defensive effort during the win with 36 digs. (Photo by Thomas Reznich) SEASON ON THE LINE Houghton Lake’s Lauren Perry (9) serves for one of her three aces dur­ing the Bobcats’ first-round regional match against visiting Traverse City St. Francis Nov. 7. Also pictured is Houghton Lake libero Alexis Souder (7) who led the Bobcats’ defensive effort during the win with 36 digs. (Photo by Thomas Reznich) In the third set, the Bobcats were down 18-16, then worked their way into leads of 20-18 and 24-20 before the Gladiators tied it up at 24 apiece. The ‘Cats then took the next two points to score the pivotal win.

The final set had both teams trading blows until Houghton Lake held a 22- 20 lead. Then St. Francis took the next three points to make it 23-22. A three- point Bobcat run sealed the match with a 25-23 win.

The victory puts the Bobcats’ season record at 30-15-5, which Kelley called the team’s “high water mark.” He cred­ited their defensive effort for the win.


LEADING THE ATTACK Houghton Lake hitter Claudia Methner (12) slams the ball for a kill dur­ing the first set of the first round Regional match against visiting Tra­verse City St. Francis Nov. 7. Methner led the Bobcats’ attack during the four-game win with 11 kills. (Photo by Thomas Reznich) LEADING THE ATTACK Houghton Lake hitter Claudia Methner (12) slams the ball for a kill dur­ing the first set of the first round Regional match against visiting Tra­verse City St. Francis Nov. 7. Methner led the Bobcats’ attack during the four-game win with 11 kills. (Photo by Thomas Reznich) “I’m proud of the way our team battled against St. Francis,” said Kelley, adding the Gladiators, who came into the game winning the last two Regionals. “Our team effort on defense was huge. That was the key.”

He said the Bobcat defense “dug up many” of St. Francis hitter Mirabelli’s attacks, and that he was “pleased at how we didn’t back down from their big hit­ter.”

Kelley said Alexis Souder led the Bobcats in digs with 36, followed by Sarah Barnes with 17, Lauren Perry with 16, Claudia Methner with 11 and Lexi Blanchard with 10. Kelli Ignat had seven solo blocks for the Bobcats while Chloe Koupal had three.

The coach also said that the Bobcats’ serving during the match was another important factor. Perry went 22 for 23 at the serving line with three aces. Ignat went 14 for 14 and Souder was 12 for 12, both scoring one ace while Barnes went 16 for 17 with two aces.

Methner led the Bobcat attack with 11 kills, followed by Perry, 10; Ignat, nine and Barnes, eight.

After the Houghton Lake, Traverse City St. Francis match, Elk Rapids and Alcona took the floor with the Elks win­ning it in three 25-9, 25-13 and 25-18.

Kelley said the Bobcats split with the Elks when the two teams met at the Kingsley Tournament earlier in the sea­son, and he said they are a solid team. He said he expects a tough match in to­night’s final.

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