Regional volleyball championships were handed out throughout Michigan Thursday evening as each division’s field shank from 16 to eight teams. Mendon and Schoolcraft each lived up to their respective number-one rankings with sweeps and regional titles Thursday, while Edwardsburg lost a five-set battle to fourth-ranked Hamilton.
DIVISION 4 (at Martin)
Mendon def. Battle Creek St. Philip 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-22)
Photos by Nicci Plummer
The defending D4 state champs knocked out the third-ranked Fighting Tigers for the second consecutive season. The Hornets would trail initially, not leading in the first set until the 21st point. Mendon erased a five-point hole as Anna Smith served up key aces during an 11-3 rally.
After three lead changes to open the second set, the Hornets raced out to a 14-9 lead and wouldn’t trail again. St. Philip got back within one at 23-22 in the second set, but couldn’t complete the comeback. Mendon jumped out to an eight-point advantage in the third, allowing them to fend off any potential rallies.
Smith led the way with 16 kills, five aces, and 15 digs. Julianna Hagenbuch also tallied 15 digs to lead the defense. Taylor Heitkamp was the second attacker at nine kills and setter Gracie Russell tallied 33 assists.
Sophomore Brooke Dzwik topped the Tigers with 11 kills. St. Philip finishes at 47-11 and graduates seniors Maddie Hallacy, Abby Austin, Chelsea Sheets, and Alexis Behnke. The Fighting Tigers have now gone four straight years without a state finals appearance, the longest-ever drought for the storied program. Three of those four eliminations came at the hands of the Hornets.
Mendon improves to 37-9-6 and faces Camden-Frontier in Tuesday’s quarterfinal at 6 p.m. ET from Climax-Scotts. Second in the final MIVCA poll and fourth-ranked by PrepDig, C-F survived a five-set battle in their regional final with Adrian Lenawee Christian.
Alexis Ames 5 kills, 2 blocks
Andrea Hoffman 4 kills, 1 ace, 1 block, 1 assist, 3 digs
Anna Smith 16 kills, 5 aces, 3 blocks, 1 assist, 15 digs
Gracie Russell 33 assists, 1 ace, 9 digs
Isabella Smith 6 digs
Julianna Hagenbuch 1 kill, 15 digs
Payton Griffith 2 digs
Ryley Mullin 3 kills, 2 blocks, 2 assists, 1 dig
Taylor Heitkamp 9 kills, 2 blocks
DIVISION 3 (at Schoolcraft)
Schoolcraft def. Niles Brandywine 3-0 (25-15, 25-9, 25-19)
The Eagles made quick work of the Bobcats in front of their home crowd, taking their first regional title since their 2014 state runner-up season. Anna Schuppel delivered the final blow in front of the home crowd.
Brandywine finishes at 35-12-4 and loses seniors Megan Schmidt, Bethany Duval, and Maigon Conrad.
Top-ranked Schoolcraft improves to 46-6-1 and moves to Tuesday’s 6:30 p.m. ET quarterfinal at Hudsonville Unity Christian, which can be heard live via JoeInsider.com. They’ll face Western Michigan Christian, ranked fourth in D3 by MIVCA and fifth by PrepDig. WMC swept Pewamo-Westphalia in their regional final.
DIVISION 2 (at Otsego)
Hamilton def. Edwardsburg 3-2 (25-15, 22-25, 25-19, 21-25, 15-6)
For the second straight season, the Hawkeyes and Eddies needed five sets to determine a regional champion. Edwardsburg rallied from the 2-1 hole to force a fifth set, but a sluggish start to the fifth sealed their fate.
The Eddies finish the season at 35-12-2 and graduate seniors Jocelyn Hack and Skyelar Burlingham. Fourth-ranked Hamilton is slated to host Tuesday’s 6 p.m. quarterfinal against top-ranked Grand Rapids Christian.