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Whitehall edges Montague in district volleyball opener as Sidney Shepherd hits milestone

Junior reaches 2,000 career assists despite playing setter for only two seasons.

Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark

WHITEHALL — Sidney Shepherd picked a good night to reach a milestone. Her Whitehall volleyball team picked a good time to beat the arch rival for the first time this season.

Host Whitehall earned a tough, five-set victory over Montague in a Division 2 district opener Monday night as Shepherd, a 5-foot-8 junior setter, reached 2,000 assists in her career.

Whitehall won the first two games, 28-26 and 25-18, before Montague rallied to take the next two, 25-20, 25-17. The Vikings, who have been playing better volleyball of late, had enough in the tank to win the fifth and deciding set, 15-11.

Whitehall (17-26) advances to Wednesday’s 7 p.m. district semifinal and will take on Fremont, another West Michigan Conference Lakes Division foe.

Montague, which featured a young team, closes the season with an 18-20-4 record.

Here are more details and notables:

  • Montague beat Whitehall in the teams’ previous two meetings this season. On Sept. 19 at Whitehall, Montague won in four sets (25-18, 25-21, 23-25, 25-22). On Oct. 14 in a Greater Muskegon Athletic Association tournament first-round match, Montague beat Whitehall, 22-25, 25-17, 15-7.
  • Shepherd finished the night with 53 assists, 13 digs, six kills, and two aces. She entered the match with 1,956 career assists, so now she sits at 2,009.
  • Whitehall senior hitter Kayla Mulder finished with 26 kills, 16 digs, and three blocks.
  • Whitehall senior hitter Arianna Black had 17 kills, 15 digs, five blocks, and three aces.
  • Whitehall junior Bella Fogus totaled 19 digs and six kills.
  • Whitehall senior Reese Milliron had 13 digs.
  • Whitehall junior Brianna Betz added two aces.
  • Montague junior Maizie Collins totaled 17 kills and 16 digs.
  • Montague junior Ava Pumford had 14 kills and two blocks.
  • Montague junior Jaelyn Sundberg notched 48 assists and 13 digs.
  • Montague junior Jordan Netcott had 15 digs, eight kills, and two aces.
  • Montague senior Alissa Wynn finished with 21 digs and four aces.
  • Montague senior Britta Johnson had 12 digs, nine kills, and two aces.
  • Montague returns a vast majority of its roster next season. The Wildcats had only four seniors on their roster this season.
  • The last time Whitehall faced Fremont, on Oct. 3 at Whitehall, the visiting Packers came away with the WMC Lakes Division sweep (25-18, 25-14, 25-20). The Vikings are now playing their best volleyball of the season.

Lead writer for CatchMark SportsNet and Web Services leader for CatchMark Technologies.

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