Two St. Joseph county volleyball teams, three from Kalamazoo county, and one from Cass county played Tuesday in regional semifinal matches. Schoolcraft, Mendon, and Edwardsburg each picked up sweeps to advance to Thursday’s regional championships. Meanwhile, Gull Lake, Vicksburg, and Colon each had solid seasons come to a close.
Regional #20 at Schoolcraft
Schoolcraft def. Bronson 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-16)
The Eagles emphatically ended Bronson’s stranglehold on Division 3, snapping their 32-match postseason winning streak and preventing the Vikings from a fifth consecutive state title. Schoolcraft rarely trailed in front of a packed gym, dominating throughout after coming up just short against Bronson in five-set battles in 2018 and 2017.
Schoolcraft led the entire first frame after opening with a 5-1 run. The Vikings got back within two at 9-7, but the Eagles kept them from getting any closer. Schoolcraft closed the first with an 8-2 run for the 25-15 tally.
Bronson led at the very start of the second set, but it was short-lived with the Eagles up 6-3 at the first timeout and 17-12 after the second, eventually closing with a 25-17 score.
The third set was the closest, staying back-and-forth initially with neither team leading by more than two until Schoolcraft’s 13-10 lead at the first timeout. The Vikings tied the match at 14-14, but would get no closer after a 3-0 Eagle run prompted the final Bronson timeout at 17-14. Schoolcraft continued to roll from there on the service of Allie Goldschmeding, closing with an 8-2 run.
Miss Volleyball finalist Andelyn Simkins had a dominant showing, unofficially racking up 22 kills and two aces. Maggie Morris had eight kills, including the match ender. Anna Schuppel tallied six kills and setter Kayla Onken had three aces, pushing the top-ranked Eagles to 45-6-1 overall.
Bronson’s Miss Volleyball candidate Keona Salesman was stellar in defeat with 22 kills. She will graduate along with Alanna Mayer and MaKensy Jourdan, as the Vikings end the year at 51-9-2.
Schoolcraft hosts Niles Brandywine in Thursday’s regional final at 6 p.m. ET. The Bobcats advanced with a sweep of Gobles in the earlier semifinal Tuesday.
Regional #12 at Otsego
Edwardsburg def. Vicksburg 3-0 (25-10, 25-19, 25-23)
The regular season meeting was a five-set Bulldog victory, ultimately leading to a split for the Wolverine Conference title. In the rematch, the Eddies roared ahead for a dominant first set win and kept enough momentum to hold off Vicksburg in the later rounds.
Vicksburg closes the year at 26-21-5 and graduates seniors Sarah Sutter, Tailynn Knapp, Camille Wadley, Remi O’Neill, Rylie Richter, and Marley Ferguson.
Edwardssburg improves to 33-9-2 and gets another shot at fourth-ranked Hamilton, who knocked out the Eddies in a five-set thriller in last season’s regional final. You can listen to Thursday’s match via JoeInsider.com with a 6:30 p.m. ET first serve from Otsego.
Regional #29 at Martin
Mendon def. New Buffalo 3-0 (25-19, 25-15, 25-16)
The defending state champs moved to 36-9-6 overall with Tuesday’s sweep over a solid New Buffalo squad that finishes at 31-6-2. Anna Smith again led the offense with 15 kills and added six digs and three aces. Taylor Heitkamp also hit double-digits with 10 kills. Julianna Hagenbuch topped the defense with 11 digs and Gracie Russell dished out 32 assists.
The top-ranked Hornets have a state finals level showdown ahead with perennial power and third-ranked St. Philip in Thursday’s regional final. You can listen to Mendon against St. Philip live Thursday via JoeInsider.com with a 6:30 p.m. ET first serve from Martin. The Fighting Tigers swept Muskegon Catholic Central in their semifinal.
Mendon statistics versus New Buffalo
Alexis Ames 5 kills, 2 digs
Andrea Hoffman 4 kills, 2 aces, 1 block, 3 digs
Anna Smith 15 kills, 3 aces, 1 block, 2 assists, 6 digs
Gracie Russell 32 assists, 1 ace, 2 kills, 4 digs
Isabella Smith 2 aces, 6 digs
Julianna Hagenbuch 11 digs, 3 aces, 1 kill, 2 assists
Makenna Cupp 1 dig
Nicole Parsons 5 digs
Payton Griffith 5 digs
Ryley Mullin 1 dig, 1 assist
Taylor Heitkamp 10 kills, 1 block, 2 digs
Regional #30 at Adrian Lenawee Christian
Camden-Frontier def. Colon 3-0 (25-12, 25-18, 25-13)
Colon’s first regional appearance since 2003 ended quickly against an impressive Camden-Frontier squad, ranked second in the final MIVCA Division 4 poll and fourth by PrepDig.
The Magi graduate seniors Katie Gentz, Jillian Kinstle, and Katelyne Lietch. Seven current juniors and two sophomores will return though, keeping future hopes high for Colon volleyball.
Camden-Frontier plays the host and eighth-ranked Lenawee Christian in the regional final. The winner of that match meets the Mendon/St. Philip winner in next Tuesday’s quarterfinal.
Regional #4 at Battle Creek Lakeview
Mattawan def. Gull Lake 3-0 (25-18, 25-16, 25-10)
Third-ranked Mattawan avenged their loss from last postseason to Gull Lake, ending the Blue Devils’ season at 29-22-1. Graduating seniors for Gull Lake are Lexie Beeke, Maddie Corstange, and Ireland Watts.
The Wildcats (40-4) take on Jackson Northwest in Thursday’s 6 p.m. regional championship at Lakeview High School in Battle Creek.