Onaway faces tough opponent, the top-rated Leland Comets

Onaway varsity volleyball coach Steve Watson said Leland, ranked number-one in Class D, and is a very diverse team that will hit the ball to all corners of the court.The Cards and the Comets square off at 3:45 p.m. Friday at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek.

They will also hit from all areas of the net, Watson said, from the right, left and center. Defensively, the setter is usually positioned behind the blocker, a different approach than Onaway uses where setter Taylor Ehrke is a blocker in the defensive scheme.

“They don’t have a whole lot of holes and as usual, they are bigger than us,” Watson said.

Ozoners celebrated with the team in Manistique when the Cards earned a trip to the Final Four. (Photo by Richard Lamb)

Leland won state titles in 2002 and 2006 and finished as state runner-up in Class D in 1979, 1982, 1986 and 2005.

In this year’s state tournament Leland has defeated each opponent in straight sets starting with Suttons Bay, Frankfort and Traverse City Christian in the Traverse City district. They then defeated Mesick and Central Lake in the regional round.

Leland coach Laurie Glass has led a successful program that moved to 41-12-4 with a sweep of Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart (25-12, 25-20 and 26-24) in Tuesday’s quarterfinal match in Scottville.

Many outstanding players have come out of the Leland program, including Glass’s daughter, Alicia Glass. Alicia went on to an all-American career at Penn State leading the team to three consecutive national titles as its setter. She is a member of the United States women’s national volleyball team.

In the other half of the bracket at 2p.m. Friday, Waterford Our Lady takes on Battle Creek St. Philip, a 3-0 winner over Mendon.