WHITMORE LAKE — Whiteford’s volleyball season came to an abrupt end Tuesday in the Class C state quarterfinals.
The Bobcats won the first two games against Auburn Hills Oakland Christian, then watched their season slip away as the Lancers won the last three games.
“I don’t know what just happened out there,” said senior Kiley Schroyer, part of a record-setting group of Bobcats that carried the team into the state’s final eight. “We hadn’t experienced anything like that all season.”
Oakland Christian advanced to Friday’s semifinals with a 19-25, 9-25, 27-25, 25-17, 15-8 victory.
Whiteford (45-8-2) set the school record for wins in any sport and a host of other team records.
The Bobcats won the first two games in dominating fashion, especially the second game.
The Lancers scored back-to-back points only once, and the combination of big hits by Janie Bunge, Schroyer and Kelly Walker overmatched Oakland Christian.
The third game — and the rest of the match — was an entirely different story.
Whiteford held an early 6-5 lead before Oakland Christian went on a couple of runs, keyed by the hitting of Samantha Durant and serving of Camille Schomer.
The Lancers led 19-14 before Whiteford started its comeback. Eventually, the Bobcats took a 24-23 lead and narrowly lost a potential match point when a hit from the side fell just outside the line. Oakland Christian went on to win the game 27-25 and never looked back.
“The difference was we stopped hitting,” Whiteford coach Kathy Albers said. “We had trouble passing the ball, and you can’t do that against teams when you get this far.
“I thought we had a chance to win the game in the third set, but we didn’t take advantage of it. They had their middle hitters working and that kept our defense off balance.”
The Bobcats led briefly in game four before Oakland Christian rallied with eight straight points in the middle of the match to take a commanding lead.
The Lancers closed out the match by keeping the Bobcat defense off guard in the fifth game.
The match closed out the careers of seniors Kiley and Courtney Schroyer, Chelsea Herrington, and Miranda Johnson. Bunge had 21 digs and 16 kills, Herrington had seven blocks, Courtney Schroyer had 27 digs, and Jessica Bubacz had 34 assists.
“It’s been a great ride,” Albers said. “I told the girls that it hurts right now but in a couple of weeks, they will realize what they have done. They’ve set some records that I don’t think will be matched for a long time. This group is special. People will remember them.”