MUSKEGON – Growth has been a theme for Shelby volleyball in 2023 and it seems the Tigers are hitting their stride in late September as they downed North Muskegon and Newaygo in Thursday night action.

Shelby started their night against Newaygo where they pushed past the Lions in two closely scored sets. The Tigers walked out of the first set with a 25-17 win before taking the second set, 25-21.

On the other court, the Norsemen matched up with Fremont with the winner waiting for a matchup with Shelby. North Muskegon slid past the Packer relatively easily, winning 25-10 in the first set and 25-16 in the second.

That set up a showdown between the Norse and Tigers, a rivalry that has heated up in recent years with both finishing near the top of the WMC.

“North Muskegon is on our schedule again in a couple weeks, so the matchup tonight had our attention,” Shelby coach Tom Weirich said. “I feel like the change in our conference last year has pegged us against the Norsemen and created the beginning of a nice rivalry between the two teams.”

Shelby took the first set over North Muskegon, 25-14, but were pushed much more in the second. Still, the Tigers walked away on top with a 25-19 win.

Navea Gauthier wasn’t quite at 100 percent, according to Weirich, but she still led the way for the Tigers with 44 kills, 18 digs, six aces and four blocks. Audrey Horton (42 assists, four aces), Hannah Frees (14 digs), Brylee Friedman (four kills, two blocks) and Molli Schultz (14 digs) all chipped in as well.

North Muskegon was led in kills by Olivia Peterson with eight, while Fia Lindsay, Addie Falkowski and Isabella Fornaro all had six each. Peterson also led in aces with three. Senior Sami Baker tossed in 28 assists and Allie Jensen led in digs with 19.

Shelby’s record is now back to the .500 mark as the Tigers are 9-9 overall. The Tigers will be back in action Tuesday when they host Holton.

North Muskegon (9-7) will host Grandville Calvin Christian on Monday.