Shelby’s Navea Gauthier and Ludington’s Keelyn Laird helped their volleyball squads make history by leading the Tigers and Orioles to respective West Michigan Conference Rivers and Lakes division titles this season.
Gauthier and Laird were not finished making history, it appears.
For the first time ever, a CatchMark SportsNet Player of the Week fan poll finished in a tie. When this week’s poll closed at noon today (Friday, Oct. 28), Gauthier and Laird were knotted at 513 votes apiece.
There are no tie-breakers in our Player of the Week poll, so both student-athletes will be recognized as winners.
Laird led for most of the poll this week, which recognized six West Michigan Conference fall sports athletes for their performances spanning Oct. 17-22, 2022, but Gauthier made a late push this morning. Gauthier even took the lead, but Laird charged back and the poll ended up tied when it closed.
Complete voting results can be found at the bottom of this story.
Shelby (27-7-2) and Ludington (32-8-2) wrapped up outright titles in their respective WMC divisions last Saturday.
Gauthier led Shelby to WMC Rivers Division tournament victories over Hesperia (25-17, 25-13) and North Muskegon (25-12, 25-23) at Hesperia. The 6-foot-2 sophomore outside hitter finished the day with 29 kills, 20 digs, 20 service points and eight aces.
Laird powered Ludington to WMC Lakes Division tournament wins over Oakridge (25-19, 25-17) and Whitehall (25-11, 25-23). The 6-3 senior middle hitter totaled 16 digs, 13 kills, four blocks and two assists.
On the season, Gauthier has totaled 716 kills, 368 digs, 111 aces and 38 blocks. Meanwhile, Laird has accumulated 267 kills, 263 digs, 57 aces, 31 assists and 29 blocks.
Both players will look to fuel their respective teams to state tournament runs beginning next week.
At 6 p.m. Monday (Oct. 31), Shelby takes on Division 3 district host and WMC Rivers Division foe Mason County Central in a first-round match. At 6 p.m. Wednesday (Nov. 2), Ludington faces traditionally strong Cadillac in the semifinals of a Division 2 district at Reed City.
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