BRIGHTON — The name is new after her recent marriage, but Brighton volleyball coach Shelley Sims had a familiar clenching of her jaw when asked about Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Hartland at Brighton High School.
“I don’t know if it was, necessarily, anything they were doing as it was what we weren’t doing, which was moving our feet,” Sims said. “We were a little lax in moving our feet in transition, and I’m not sure what that was from.”
The Bulldogs had rolled through the KLAA West until Tuesday, winning in straight sets in their three previous matches and taking the first one on Tuesday, 25-14.
But the Eagles held on to win the second set 25-22 and led late in the third before Brighton won 25-23 and then put the match away with a 25-18 win in the fourth.
All this after Sims, formerly known as Shelley Fix, had to do some fast recalculating after setter Angela Dean had to leave due to illness.
“It did change a few things,” Sims said.
It gave freshman Celia Cullen a chance to shine, and she made the most of it, recording 28 assists, six kills and six blocks, many of them working with senior Gabrielle Tschannen.
Cullen, at 5-9, is taller than most of the setters who have played under Sims, and gives the Brighton offense some extra options.
“It’s easier to dump on the opponent and to turn and swing on the opponent,” Sims said. “Our offense gives us three hitting options in front, and she’s a bonus.”
Hartland coach Katy Westenberg, meanwhile, is working in a freshman of her own, middle hitter Whitney Sollom, who is only in her second year of volleyball.
“She’s a basketball kid who tried out for volleyball,” Westenberg said. “It’s learning by playing, and our kids don’t have enough games under their belts.”
Another freshman, Baylie Burgdorf, had 21 assists for the Eagles, while sophomore Megan Acs had eight kills and senior Julia Jensen added 10.
“We made some mistakes that could have been corrected with more discipline and thinking through the play,” Westenberg said. “It comes with growing t he game and learning every play. I think the next time we see them, we won’t make those same mistakes.”
Tschannen had 18 kills and five blocks, while Hannah Swanson added 10 kills and three blocks for Brighton (13-4-1 overall, 4-0 KLAA West). The Bulldogs play host to Howell, which lost to Pinckney 3-1, on Thursday.
The Eagles (5-8, 2-2) play host to Milford on Thursday.
Pinckney at Brighton
BRIGHTON — The roles were reversed in the boys and girls races from recent years.
The Brighton boys rolled to a 20-41 victory. The Pirates’ Ryan Talbot finished first, but Brighton took the next five spots and nine of the next 10 to take the victory. Zach Stewart was the top finisher for the Bulldogs.
The Pinckney girls turned the tables on Brighton in the second race, winning 22-34. Andrea Crowe led the Bulldogs with a second-place finish.
Brighton 2, Milford 0
BRIGHTON — Bailey Rudberg and Cameron Williams scored as Brighton (9-0-1, 5-0) stayed unbeaten.
Riley Radwanski-Gallas recorded his seventh shutout in net as the Bulldogs finished the first half of the KLAA West season.
Hartland 5, Howell 0
HARTLAND — Steven Bentley had four goals and Tony Rizzo added a fifth for the Eagles (11-2-2, 3-1-1). Corey White added three assists and Skyler Virden had five saves in goal.
Williamston 7, Fowlerville 1
WILLIAMSTON — Fowlerville’s No. 4 doubles team of Caden Flanery and Christian Montrose picked up the only win for the Gladiators (5-4-1 1-3 CAAC White).