FREMONT - The Ludington Orioles battled down to the last few points of the fifth set, but could not stop a late rally by Grand Rapids West Catholic, as the Falcons ended the Orioles’ outstanding season with a 3-2 victory in a division two state quarterfinal on Tuesday night.
The Falcons started off fast in the first set, opening up a quick six-point lead, but the Orioles were able to battle their way back into the set, eventually pulling out a 25-23 decision.
Grand Rapids West Catholic took control of the match in the second and third sets, jumping out to early leads in both on the way to a 25-18 second set win, and a 25-16 triumph in the third.
With their season on the line in the fourth set, the Orioles got their offense on track, building an early lead, and holding off the Falcons to even the match up with a 25-17 win.
In the decisive fifth set, Ludington carried the momentum from the fourth set, scoring the first four points of the set to open up a quick lead. Grand Rapids West Catholic closed the gap but didn’t take a lead in the set until going ahead 11-10 late in the fifth. The Falcons would notch five of the final six points of the match to take the fifth set, 15-11 to close out the match and set off a celebration on the floor.
Maddy Vaara led the Ludington offense with 19 kills to go along with 11 blocks and two blocks. Ashley McPike chipped in with a dozen kills for the Orioles and four blocks. Karli Mesyar provided 30 digs from the libero position, and setter Jordyn Anderson dished out 36 assists to go with 27 digs three blocks and three kills.
“They had an amazing season; winning the first regional title in 26 years for Ludington and playing a really good game tonight,” Ludington head coach Liz Holden said. “They didn’t stop fighting and I just told them not to hang their heads, because they had the best season Ludington has seen in decades.”
Grand Rapids West Catholic advances to the division two state semifinal, where they will meet Milan in Battle Creek on Thursday.