PREVIEW: Volleyball Regional #17 From Watervliet

11-7 Volleyball
Listen live online Tuesday and Thursday on the Slocum Sports Network to the MHSAA Regional #17 volleyball tournament from Watervliet High School.  The first semifinal Tuesday at 6 p.m. features the Schoolcraft Eagles versus the Kalamazoo Christian Comets.   The second to follow around 7:45 p.m. has the defending Class C state champion Bronson Vikings against the Brandywine Bobcats.   The winners meet Thursday at 7 p.m.

Schoolcraft enters at 36-13-2 on the season, coming off a four-set district final win over Constantine, who hosted the final and held a 37-8-6 mark.   Schoolcraft also swept White Pigeon and Decatur in the earlier district matches.  The Eagles were ranked fourth-best in the final Class C Coaches Association poll and ranked 12th in the final poll from Michigan High School Volleyball Insider.

It’s Schoolcraft’s fifth time in the Regional round in six years with their deepest run in that stretch a state-runner up in 2014.   In their last Regional appearance in 2015, they defeated Kalamazoo Christian in the semifinal and lost to Bronson in the final.  The Eagles have been state champion once before, in 2008.

Kalamazoo Christian (record currently unavailable) enters ranked 21st in the Insider poll.  The Comets won over Bloomingdale (3), Galesburg-Augusta (4), and Bangor (3) to claim their district.  It’s their third straight trip to the Regional round with K-Christian falling in the semifinals to Bronson in 2016 and Schoolcraft in 2015.

The Comets haven’t been Regional champions since their quarterfinal run in 2007.   Their most recent Regional final trip was 2012, where they were eliminated by Schoolcraft.   Kalamazoo Christian fell twice to Schoolcraft this season, in four sets back in September and 2-0 in the SAC tournament in late October.

Bronson is the two-time defending Class C state champions and holds the #1 ranking in both the Coaches and Insider polls.  The Vikings enter the Regional tournament at 54-9-2 with all of their losses coming to Class A and Class B schools.   They rolled through Reading, Centreville, and Mendon in their district contests.

Bronson eliminated Kalamazoo Christian last season and Schoolcraft two years ago, although they have no recent meetings on record with Brandywine.   Vikings head coach Jean LaClair is a three-time champion with Bronson, also taking the Class C title in 2009.

Brandywine enters at 36-7-4 according to Maxpreps and were ranked 25th in the final Insider poll.  They defeated Cassopolis in three and Bridgman in four to claim the district title.   The Bobcats are into the Regional round for the first time since 2014, where they were eliminated by Schoolcraft in the semifinal.   Their last trip out of the Regional tournament was their 2003 state semifinal run.

Listen live to the Regional tournament online on the Slocum Sports Network Tuesday and Thursday from Watervliet High School.  The action begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. with Schoolcraft against Kalamazoo Christian, followed by Bronson and Brandywine around 7:45.   The Regional championship is Thursday at 7 p.m.

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