By Mark Blentlinger
A regional volleyball championship was on the line: Bronson, ranked #2 in Division 3, with Schoolcraft ranked #3. Bronson was also the 3-time defending state champion.
Set 1 was back and forth. The Eagles were up 9-2, when Bronson started putting things together. Both teams were playing very aggressively. The Eagles were up 23-16 when Bronson started to make a comeback, but the Eagles were able to secure the first set with a kill from Andelyn Simkins, finishing at 25-22.
The Vikings started out set two very strong, taking an early 7-3 lead. The Eagles did all they could to bring the score closer, but they fell back by 6. The Vikings were able to capitalize with some good defense and won the set 25-15. Set 3 was tough. The Eagles, down by 10 at one point in the set, started a run and brought the score to 18-20. Bronson still led and eventually took Set 3, 25-19.
The crowd witnessed two very good volleyball teams battle. It was clear why they were ranked second and third in the state. Set 4 started with the Eagles jumping out to a small lead. They were able to maintain the momentum and got a 14-8 lead.
Both teams showed some phenomenal defense, with very acrobatic saves. Both teams’ fans were cheering so loudly it was difficult to hear. The Eagles hit their stride and gained a 23-17 lead. Bronson started making a charge of its own, bringing the score to 24-21. After a questionable call that seemed to take forever to get straightened out, the Eagles were able to hold off the Vikings for a score of 25-23.
With each team taking 2 sets, the Regional Championship would be decided by a 5th set tie breaker. Bronson’s offensive attack was too strong for the Eagles and the Vikings won Set 5…and the Regional Championship.
The Eagles stat leaders for the night: Kills – Andelyn Simkins with 30, Maggie Morris with 12 and Alisa Eartman with 7. Digs – Andelyn Simkins with 29, Kelby Goldschmeding with 27, Kayla Onken with 17 and Abby Pincumbe with 13. The leader for assists was Kayla Onken, with 50.
Coach Onken said “I’m proud of the way we fought. Whether we were leading or down, we battled, and the girls should be proud of their effort and all the success they’ve had this season. They stayed positive and played with confidence and had fun.”
The Eagles finished out the 2018 season with a record of 44 wins, eight losses and two ties.