By Sean Budlong
The Schoolcraft volleyball team started its season with a 7-4 record and two second-place finishes. The Eagles lost the championship match to Niles in the Gull Lake Tournament, and finished 4-1 in the Otsego Bulldog Classic. Otsego finished 5-0, winning the competition.
“We like to play a tough early schedule,” Head Coach Erin Onken said. “We may not end up with the greatest record after the first few weeks, but it prepares us for the season.”
The growth of her young team is already evident after 11 matches. The Gull Lake Tournament started slowly as Schoolcraft dropped matches to Battle Creek Lakeview and Gull Lake and beat Hamilton. The Eagles turned things around in bracket play, beating Lakeview and advancing to the semi-finals to face Vicksburg (4-0 coming into the match). Timely serving and defense propelled Schoolcraft to the victory and the championship match.
In Otsego, Schoolcraft’s entire team played well in beating Paw Paw, South Haven, Gobles, and Hamilton. Even in the lone loss to Otsego, the Eagles forced a third set. Every hitter ended the day with multiple kills and/or blocks. The defense which looked shaky at times in Gull Lake was solid all day behind teammates Sophie Woodhams and Halie Rhoda.
Despite the fact that Schoolcraft plays an extremely difficult schedule this season, the expectations remain high.