GAYLORD — Outright Big North Conference champs.
A 14th straight district title.
Two points away from a regional title.
It's that last piece that hurts the most.
Cadillac battled, and kept battling all night, but came up just short to Kingsley 25-14, 29-27, 21-25, 23-25, 15-13 in a Class B volleyball regional final Thursday at Gaylord High School.
The loss ends another strong Viking season at 41-10-2 overall.
When it was over, the tears flowed on the Cadillac bench after the Vikings left it all on the floor.
"I told the girls in the locker room that we're Big North champions alone, we won a district and we were two points away from a regional," Cadillac coach Michelle Brines said. "Don't be sad that it's over. Be happy because it happened.
"These are all outstanding kids and I've loved coaching them."
The match was everything it should have been with the two best teams in northern Michigan on the court — except for the first set.
Cadillac struggled out of the gate with its passing and Kingsley took advantage, cruising to a victory.
The Vikings responded, though, and started playing much better in the second set.
Kingsley led 23-21 before a pair of kills by Macy Brown made it 23-23. The Stags went back up 24-23 but the Vikings tied it again at 24-all. Kingsley went up 25-24 on a very questionable fourth-hit call but a block by Brown and Maggie Neiss re-tied it at 25-25.
Kingsley was up 26-25 before Renee Brines recorded a kill to tie it again at 26. A service error gave the Stags the lead at 27-26 before a Brown kill tied it again. Kingsley got the next two points, though, for the huge 2-0 lead.
"Last year when we went down 2-0 to them, we just kind of gave up," Michelle Brines said. "Losing a set 29-27, you feel like you've been punched in the gut and then you have to try and rebound from that.
"For my kids to come back, push it to five and be just two points shy says a lot about them."
Cadillac took control through the next two sets and looked like it had all of the momentum going into the fifth and deciding set.
The Vikings went up 2-0 but Kingsley responded by tying it and then putting a little bit of a run together to go up 7-3 after a hitting error by the Vikings.
That ended up being too big of a hole to dig out of.
"They got the serve back and went up 7-3 so we were playing catch up," Brines said. "We kind of lost control in the middle of that game."
Cadillac didn't quit, though.
Down 10-6, Cadillac got kills by Brown and Chloe Comstock to make it 10-8. Down 11-9, a tip by Maggie Neiss made it 11-10. Kingsley went up 12-10 and then got a kill for a big 13-10 lead. A pair of kills by Neiss cut it back to 13-12 before the Stags went up 14-12 on a kill.
A kill by Comstock cut it to 14-13 but a hitting error by the Viking ended the set and the match.
The loss wraps up the prep careers of Comstock, Neiss, Makenna Bryant, Staci Beydoun, Brooke Lorenz and Marne Fox.
"Chloe and Maggie have been with me for three years and Marne came in off the bench and played outstanding," Brines said. "We have six seniors and they all played a huge part in our success this year."
Brown had 28 kills, two blocks, two assists and 35 digs while Brines had six kills, two blocks, 51 assists and 28 digs. Comstock had 16 kills, 28 digs and an ace while Neiss had 10 kills, three aces, six blocks, an assist and three digs.
Joslyn Seeley had a kill, two blocks an assist and two digs while Bryant recorded 28 digs. Fox had 16 digs and Lorenz added two digs.