BRIDGMAN — The Bridgman and New Buffalo high school volleyball teams battled for five sets in a Saturday, Sept. 26, tri-meet hosted by the Bees.
The Bison entered the meet undefeated on the young season, and took the first two contests against Bridgman by 25-22, 25-12 tallies.
The opener was close until New Buffalo reeled of six straight points to transform a 14-13 lead into a 20-13 advantage. Sophia DeOliveira had two kills while Ava Mullen contributed a point-scoring tip and an ace serve.
Bridgman rallied to pull within one (22-21) as Takiya Cornelius had a block, Bella Gearhart aced a serve, and the defense played well.
Two kills by Mullen helped push the Bison on to a 25-22 victory.
New Buffalo built an early 5-0 lead in the second set (Kelsey Corkran had two ace serves and Allie Smith contributed a kill) and the Bison never looked back en route to a 25-12 win.
Bridgman turned the tables in the third game with kills by Peyton Oman, Gearhart and Cornelius helping open up a 17-7 lead. The Bees went on to prevail 25-14.
The third set was tied at 16-all before the Bees got three kills from Cornelius, a spike to the floor from Oman, and a block by Haylee Kanous and Javen Graves to pull even with a 25-20 win.
The fifth and final contest (played to 15 points) was tied up at 5-5 when the Bison made their move.
A tip and an ace serve by DeOliveira, kills by Emma Lantz and Mullen, and a point-scoring tip by Corkran helped New Buffalo push on to a 15-8 victory.
New Buffalo coach Kevin Labaj said his team just has to keep pushing, adding that it sometimes takes them a while to wake up in morning matches.
Bridgman coach Jim Ragosta said the Bees are young, but "grew up a little bit in that match as a team."
The Bison went on to top Sturgis by 25-22, 25-16, 27-29 and 25-2 scores (and upped their overall record to 8-0 Sept. 28 with a five-set victory over Brandywine).
Statistical leaders on the day at Bridgman for New Buffalo included: Mullen (6 aces, 35 kills, 4 block kills, 36 digs); Corkran (10 aces, 8 kills, 63 assists, 3 blocks, 18 digs); DeOliveira (5 aces, 33 kills, 3 block kills, 44 digs); and Lantz (4 aces, 5 kills, 12 digs, 3 block kills).
Leading the 4-6 Bees (who also lost a match against Sturgis on Sept. 26) were: Oman (19 kills and 36 digs); Cornelius (19 kills and 5 blocks); Kanous (36 assists and 24 digs); Autumn Brown (52 digs); Bella Gearhart (two aces and 17 digs): and Bre Russell (two aces and 17 digs).