Category Archives: High School Volleyball

RECAP: #1 Bronson Survives #4 Schoolcraft in 5-Set Classic

Digital Camera

Bronson’s players and students celebrate their Regional championship.   Ashton Wronikowski (#9) led the Vikings with 20 kills. 

The Bronson Vikings earned their third consecutive Class C Regional championship Thursday at Watervliet High School, winning in five sets over the Schoolcraft Eagles, 21-25, 25-19, 23-25, 25-17, 15-5.  The top-ranked Vikings’ push for a third straight state title continues, ending Schoolcraft’s season in the Regional final for the second time in three years.

The match started tight from the very beginning, seeing five lead changes in the first part of set #1.  Schoolcraft got the lead for good with their 14th point for a 25-21 win.   Bronson battled back and never trailed the second set, taking it 25-19.    The Eagles had the first point of the third, but trailed for almost the entirety of the set.  Schoolcraft was able to erase a five-point hole and reclaim the lead on their 20th point, narrowly staying ahead for the 25-23 win.

Schoolcraft carried the momentum to a 7-4 start to the fourth set, but the lead was short lived and the Vikings took control for a 25-17 fourth set win.   In the decisive fifth set, Ashton Wronikowski was dominant for Bronson.   All match, she was lethal off short sets by Kiana Mayer, tallying 15 kills in the first four sets.   In the fifth, Wronikowski grabbed five kills, including the final two of the match, punching Bronson’s ticket to the Elite Eight.

Along with Wronikowski’s 20, Jolie Smoker had 12 kills unofficially and Keona Salesman had 10.   Kiera Lasky added five aces, putting top-ranked Bronson at 56-9-2 overall.  Fourth-ranked Schoolcraft finishes at 37-14-2, led by 15 kills from Andelyn Simkins.   Senior Paige Gebben added eight in her final match, she and Brooke Crissman graduate for the Eagles.

It will be #1 vs #2 from the final coaches poll in the quarterfinal, as Bronson meets second-ranked Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central Tuesday at 7 p.m. from Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo.

Listen back to Thursday’s Regional final below:

RECAP: #4 Schoolcraft, #1 Bronson Set for Regional Final Showdown

Digital Camera

Schoolcraft prepares for player introductions.

The Schoolcraft Eagles and Bronson Vikings won their Class C Regional Semifinal volleyball matches Tuesday at Watervliet, both winning in three sets.  Schoolcraft topped conference foe Kalamazoo Christian 25-15, 27-25, 25-15, and Bronson rolled Brandywine 25-7, 25-9, 25-18.

The Eagles and Vikings, ranked fourth and first in the final Coaches Association poll, will now meet for the second time in three years in the Regional Final Thursday at 7 p.m. and that match can be heard live online via the Slocum Sports Network.

In the first semifinal, Schoolcraft dominated the first set from the very start.   Kalamazoo Christian battled hard in the second set and led for a decent chunk.   The set had four lead changes and never saw either team lead by more than three.   The Comets had multiple set-point chances with a 24-21 lead, but the Eagles survived for the 27-25 win.   Kalamazoo Christian grabbed a quick lead in the third, but it didn’t last and Schoolcraft was able to pull away for good.

Unofficially, Schoolcraft sophomore outside hitter Andelyn Simkins led the squad with 18 kills, followed by 11 from senior Paige Gebben.   The Comets had five from sophomore Carley Broekhuizen and senior Tara Razenberg.  She graduates, along with Mackenzie Wallace and Madelyn Batts with a final 2017 record of 28-17-4.   The Eagles move to 37-13-2.

The second semifinal was never in doubt with the two-time defending state champions dominating the entire way.  Brandywine had the first two points of the match, but quickly saw that lead turn into an 18-point hole.   The Bobcats showed some fight in the third set, but Bronson was too much to handle.

Unofficially, Bronson sophomore Keona Salesman had 15 kills.   Miss Volleyball candidate Kiana Mayer added six aces, pushing the Vikings to 55-9-2 on the season.  Brandywine senior Grace Polomcak had five kills in her final match.   The Bobcats finish 36-8-4 according to Maxpreps and also graduate Lauren Srmek and Melanie Martinez.

Bronson and Schoolcraft are now set for the Regional Final Thursday at 7 p.m. and that match can be heard live online via the Slocum Sports Network.   When they met in the 2015 Regional Final, Bronson won 25-17, 25-23, 26-28, 25-22.   The Vikings look to continue their path to a three-peat, while Schoolcraft hopes for their first quarterfinal appearance since 2013.

Listen back to Tuesday’s semifinals below:

SCHOOLCRAFT VS KALAMAZOO CHRISTIAN

BRONSON VS BRANDYWINE

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.

RECAP: Mattawan Rolls to District Title Over Kalamazoo Central

Digital Camera
The Mattawan Wildcats earned their second district championship in three years with a sweep at Kalamazoo Central Thursday, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17.  The Maroon Giants started hot, using energy from their large home crowd to begin the match 4-0.   Down 8-4, the Wildcats got the serve to sophomore Natalie Foster and used numerous aces to go on a 10-0 run.   Mattawan dominated the rest of the first set and remained in control through the second and third sets.

Unofficially, Taylor Rutgers tallied 13 kills for Mattawan, including the final kill.   Foster had six kills and four aces.   For Kalamazoo Central, Kennedy Livers had eight kills, followed by seven from Peri Herder.

The Maroon Giants finish at 34-16-1 and will graduate six seniors; Kennedy Kubiak, Herder, Livers, Josephine Fonger, Julia Naranjo, and Talia Edmonds.  Meanwhile Mattawan, which has zero seniors on the squad, improves to 39-7 overall.  The Wildcats head to the Regional semifinal Tuesday at St. Johns to face DeWitt, ranked fourth in the final Class A Coaches Poll.

Listen back to the district final below:

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo Central Hosts Mattawan For District #1 Final

11-2 Volleyball

Listen live online Thursday at 6 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to the MHSAA District #1 championship with the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants hosting the Mattawan Wildcats.  K-Central defeated Portage Central Monday and St. Joseph Wednesday to advance, with Mattawan downing Portage Northern Monday and Lakeshore Wednesday.

These teams met two weeks earlier in Kalamazoo with Mattawan earning a four-set victory, 25-23, 25-21, 26-28, 25-21.  Natalie Foster led the Wildcats that night with 20 kills, followed by Kathryn Puzevic’s 17 kills and 25 digs from Allie Wiese.  The Maroon Giants got 11 kills from both Kennedy Livers and Josephine Fonger, along with 34 digs by Julia Naranjo.

The Wildcats enter the match at 38-7 on the season with Kalamazoo Central at 34-15-1.   Mattawan is looking for their second district title in three seasons, hoping to best their first-ever state quarterfinal appearance in 2015.     The Maroon Giants last claimed a district crown in 2002.

Listen live to Thursday’s district final live online on the Slocum Sports Network with first serve set for 6 p.m. from Kalamazoo Central.   The winner moves to the Regional semifinal Tuesday at St. Johns against either St. Johns or DeWitt.

RECAP: Kalamazoo Central Defeats Portage Central, Mattawan Drops Portage Northern

Digital Camera

The Kalamazoo Central players and students celebrate their first volleyball postseason victory since 2013.

Kalamazoo Central and Mattawan were the victors in Monday’s District 1 first round volleyball matches at K-Central, advancing to semifinal matches Wednesday.   The Maroon Giants grabbed their first postseason victory since 2013, beating Portage Central 25-23, 25-23, 27-25.   The Wildcats bested Portage Northern 25-22, 25-21, 25-11.

KC and PC was tight throughout, with all three sets ending up tied at 23-23.   The Maroon Giants didn’t lead by two in the first set until the 25th point.  Kalamazoo Central got up by five early in the second, but found themselves down 20-18 before rallying back.   The Mustangs started up four in the third, followed by a three-point Giant lead midway through, before turning into a back-and-forth affair to the end.

Unofficially, Peri Herder topped Kalamazoo Central with nine kills, including the final one.  Regina Wolf added eight kills and five blocks, getting her team to 33-15-1 on the season.   Ryann Jaqua had 16 kills for PC, followed by 14 from Mackenzie Lundin.   Portage Central finishes 28-16 and graduates seniors Maddie Wojcik, Emma Kite, Jessie Zesiger, Kenzie Zook, and Allison Sturgeon.

Mattawan and Portage Northern stayed very even in the first set with neither team taking a multi-point lead until the Wildcats did at the end.  The Huskies led for the first part of the second set, but a 7-0 run off the service of Alli Wiese pushed Mattawan ahead and the Wildcats remained in control the rest of the way.

Unofficially, Madison Dorff tallied seven kills and three aces for Mattawan with Kathryn Puzevic also getting seven kills, moving them to 37-7 overall.   Emily Lewis led Portage Northern in her final match with 13 kills, followed by 9 from fellow senior Hannah Biddlecome.   The Huskies finish 28-23 and also graduate Kaylee Peterson, Ella Lewis, Corinne McCarthy and Cecilia Pirchio.

Mattawan will meet Lakeshore (6-25-1) in Wednesday’s semifinal at 5:30 p.m., followed Kalamazoo Central against St. Joseph (16-26-0) around 7.   The winners Wednesday play for the District 1 championship Thursday at 6 p.m. and you can hear the District final on the Slocum Sports Network.   All matches are at Kalamazoo Central.

Listen back to Monday’s contests below:

KALAMAZOO CENTRAL VS PORTAGE CENTRAL

MATTAWAN VS PORTAGE NORTHERN

PREVIEW: SMAC Volleyball Rivals Collide to Start District Tournament

10-30 volleyball

Listen live online Monday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to the first round District #1 volleyball matches from Kalamazoo Central High School.   The first match, set for 5:30 p.m., features the Mattawan Wildcats against the Portage Northern Huskies.   The match to follow has the hosting Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants and Portage Central Mustangs.   All four SMAC members enter with winning records and strong programs.

Mattawan enters as the favorite coming off Saturday’s SMAC tournament championship, defeating Portage Central in the final match.   At 33-7 according to Maxpreps, the Wildcats received a honorable mention in last week’s Class A Coaches Association poll and have been in the top ten at other points in the season.    Mattawan was eliminated by Portage Central in last season’s district tournament.  Two seasons ago, the Wildcats made it to the quarterfinal for the first time in program history.

Portage Northern entered last weekend at 26-21 and has significantly improved from their recent down seasons.   The Huskies are looking for their first postseason victory since 2010.   They were knocked out in last year’s district tournament by Portage Central.   The last Portage Northern district championship came in 2007, with a trip to the quarterfinal that season.   The Huskies were once a Class A powerhouse, winning 10 state championships in the 1980s and 90s.

Portage Central entered last weekend at 26-14 and is the defending district champion, getting as far the quarterfinal last season where they fell to Class A runner-up Rockford in five sets.   The Mustang senior class is looking to claim their third district title in their four seasons.  The school’s deepest run was a runner-up finish in 2009.

Kalamazoo Central took a 30-13-1 mark into the weekend and were knocked out by Niles in last season’s district tournament.   Their last postseason victory came in 2013 with their most recent district championship in 2002.   The Maroon Giants’ deepest run was a state title in 1996.

Monday’s winners move to Wednesday’s district semifinals.   The Mattawan/Portage Northern winner plays Lakeshore (4-23-1) at 5:30 p.m. with the Portage Central/Kalamazoo Central winner meeting St. Joseph (15-23-0) in the following match.   The district championship is Thursday at 6 p.m. with all of the matches at Kalamazoo Central.

You can listen to Monday’s first round matches, as well as Thursday’s district championship, live online via the Slocum Sports Network.   The action begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. between Mattawan and Portage Northern with the Portage Central and Kalamazoo Central match to follow.   The bracket can be found here via MHSAA.

RECAP: Lakeview Survives Late Charge, Earns Road Win Over Kalamazoo Central

Digital Camera
The Lakeview Spartans grabbed a key road victory Wednesday over SMAC East rival Kalamazoo Central, 25-18, 25-19, 18-25, 26-24.   Lakeview was dominant early, leading the entire first set and all but the start of the second set.   The Maroon Giants flipped the script in the third set and led nearly the entire way.

The decisive fourth set was one of swings.  Kalamazoo Central started with an 8-3 lead, but Lakeview regained control midway through and led 20-16 at a timeout.   The Maroon Giants evened it back up at 22-22 and had a set point chance at 24-23.   The Spartans tied it back up on a kill, then got the final two points from a double-hit and attack error.

Unofficially, Sidney Schiller led Lakeview with 16 kills, followed by 11 from Karlie Kucharczyk.  Kennedy Livers topped K-Central with 11.   The Spartans improve to 25-7 overall with the Maroon Giants falling to 22-6-1.   Both teams are now 2-1 within the SMAC East.   Lakeview returns to action at home next Wednesday with Loy Norrix, while the Giants travel to the Mona Shores invite Saturday.

Listen back to Wednesday’s match below:

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo Central and Lakeview Set for SMAC East Showdown

10-4 volleyball

Listen live online Wednesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to high school volleyball between the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants and Lakeview Spartans.   It’s the third match for both squads within a stacked SMAC East division, which also features ranked squads from Mattawan and Gull Lake.

The Maroon Giants are 2-0 in divisional play thus far with wins over Battle Creek Central and Loy Norrix.   Kalamazoo Central enters the week with an overall record of 19-5-1, with the Otsego quad Tuesday ahead of their meeting with the Spartans.    Meanwhile, Lakeview is 1-1 in divisional play with a win over BC Central and a loss to Mattawan.   They’re 24-7 overall and went 4-1 over the weekend in the Richmond invite, falling in the gold bracket final to Class B #1 Notre Dame Prep.

Both meetings last season between the Maroon Giants and Spartans were incredibly tight.   Last October, Lakeview won a five-set match with the first four sets decided by either three or four points.    Earlier in 2016, K-Central won a best of three tournament match over Lakeview with the first two sets both finishing 25-23.

Listen live to Wednesday’s match online on the Slocum Sports Network with first serve scheduled for around 6:30 p.m., pending the earlier JV matches.

RECAP: #9 Mattawan Earns Tight Road Sweep Over #11 Gull Lake

Digital Camera
The Mattawan Wildcats defeated the Gull Lake Blue Devils Wednesday evening in three sets, 25-20, 25-22, 25-22.   In each set, Gull Lake had an early lead, but the Wildcats rallied back midway through each time.   The win starts Mattawan at 1-0 in SMAC East division play and starts Gull Lake at 0-1.

Unofficially, Taylor Rutgers led the Wildcats with 12 kills, closely followed by Natalie Foster with 11.  Gull Lake’s Kenzy Cortstange added 12 of her own.   Mattawan is 20-3 overall with Gull Lake at 20-6-1.

The Wildcats return to action Thursday at the Rockford meet, followed by a SMAC East home match next Wednesday with Lakeview.  Gull Lake goes to the Holt Invitational Saturday, then heads to Loy Norrix Wednesday for league play.

Listen back to Wednesday’s match below: