Schoolcraft swept Valley Lutheran in Friday’s Division 3 volleyball semifinal match 25-10, 25-11, 25-12, sending the Eagles to Saturday’s state championship. It will be the third finals berth in Schoolcraft volleyball history, joining their 2008 championship season and 2014 runner-up campaign.
Friday’s result was never in doubt as the top-ranked Eagles never trailed against the tenth-ranked Chargers. Schoolcraft handled the pressure of the big-game environment of the Kellogg Arena seemingly with ease.
“There was some nerves, but I think overall there was just so much more excitement that overcame those nerves,” said junior setter Kayla Onken.
“I had some (nerves) at the beginning,” noted libero Kelby Goldschmeding. “After the first five points, I was really good.”
It wasn’t the first time on the big stage for those who were part of Schoolcraft’s state runner-up softball squad from the spring. Girls sports have been strong overall recently with the basketball team making it to the quarterfinal as well two seasons ago.
“There’s a high level of expectations within our school within all of our sports,” said head coach Erin Onken.
It was yet another lopsided postseason result against a top-ten ranked team, as Schoolcraft has won every postseason set by seven or more. Miss Volleyball finalist Andelyn Simkins had a game-high 13 kills. Maggie Morris tallied seven and Anna Schuppel had six. Kelby Goldschmeding topped the defense with nine digs. Onken had 28 assists and eight digs.
“I was grateful today that they stepped up and settled in sooner than I thought,” added coach Onken. “This is a big arena and it can be nerve-racking. They did a great job in warmups in calming their nerves.”
However, the Eagles know not to take their success for granted ahead of Saturday’s championship match.
“We know that we have to stay humble and everyone on our team has been super humble throughout the year,” said Kayla Onken.
Although not the final result they wanted, it was still a historic season for Valley Lutheran with their first-ever semifinal berth and a 40-9-5 final record. The Chargers graduate seniors Carly Pomaville, Katie Wilson, Cora Hensler, Erin Ettline, Allyson Ehlert, and Kelsey Vittitow.
Schoolcraft improves to 48-6-1 and plays for the Division 3 championship Saturday against second-ranked St. Mary Catholic Central in a rematch of the 2014 final. You can listen to the final live via JoeInsider.com with a scheduled 12 p.m. ET first serve, although it could be delayed by the prior Mendon/Leland Division 4 final (which will also be live via JoeInsider).