Going undefeated in league play and 3-0 at Saturday’s St. Joseph Valley League quad, the Mendon volleyball team will have one last SJV championship banner to hang in the gym before joining a new conference in 2014-15.
The No. 1-ranked Hornets (Class C) beat White Pigeon, 25-11, 25-19 and 25-18, to start the day. They defeated Centreville, 25-19, 25-14 and 25-13, before taking on sixth-ranked Bronson. A focused Mendon squad earned a 25-11, 25-21 and 25-22 win over the Vikings in an excellent tune-up for next week’s districts.
“It was a great feeling to win league,” said senior Brooke Howard, who finished with a team-high 42 kills and 28 digs. “We’ve been working hard since day one and continue to work hard until the very end. There’s no stopping us now. The Bronson match was our best match by far. We were mentally and physically prepared for the game and I think everyone on the team handled the pressure of the game very well. When we start getting excited and have fun, we finally start to find our game and play with intensity.”
A lack of intensity early in matches this season has put the Hornets in some tight spots. With postseason play about to begin, and a state title the only goal, being charged from the outset is a priority.
“It is extremely important,” Howard said. “Starting out slow is not an option in the postseason. We have to come out strong and remain strong throughout the entire match. This is the go hard or go home moment and we need to take full advantage of it.”
Jordan VanOss finished with 19 kills, six blocks and 28 digs for Mendon. Danielle Parsons added 21 digs, Alexis Russell posted 30 kills and 21 digs, Loryn Baughman had eight aces and 93 assists and Jackie Friel was excellent at the service line with seven aces.
Bronson beat White Pigeon, 25-16, 25-14 and 25-9, and Centreville (score not reported). White Pigeon topped Centreville, 25-20, 25-22 and 25-23.
The Chiefs’ Bethany Hagner registered 25 kills, 20 digs and five aces. Teammate Danielle Chantrenne added 26 digs and 15 kills. Rachel Brock finished with 20 digs, Skyler DeMeyer had 28 assists, Cheyenne Yoder totaled 20 assists and Kathrina Hagner finished with 11 kills and seven blocks for White Pigeon.
“Every match is a challenge,” White Pigeon coach Tony Hooley said of the small but talented four-team league. “Serve-receive continues to be our Achilles heel, but we had some decent performances in several of the other areas of the game. We had a little better day at the net defensively with more hard blocks for points and soft blocks that allowed our back row to keep the ball alive.
“Kathrina Hagner had a good day in the middle of the net offensively and defensively. I was also very pleased with the scrappiness and ball control of Riley Phelps and Sydney Harmon. They sustained a lot of rallies. Cheyenne Yoder also played very well when called on. Those four are all sophomore that had a positive impact on the day. Skyler DeMeyer, our freshman setter, also finished the morning strong, leading us to our win over Centreville.
“I’ll let the stats speak for themselves on our older kids as they continuously turn in solid performances. They will be the ones counted on to get us some wins in the postseason.”
Leading Centreville were Mattie Kirby (10 kills, 13 digs, two blocks), Bailee May (four aces, 19 kills, 29 digs, seven blocks), Jenna Beeker (seven aces, 27 digs), Madison Hunter (29 assists, 10 digs, four blocks).