By Travis Smola
The Vicksburg varsity volleyball team clinched the Wolverine Conference Title against Otsego in three straight sets on the road.
The scores were 25-21, 25-22 and 25-22 in favor of the Lady Bulldogs, giving Vicksburg its first Conference title in five years. After this season started off a little rough, the girls have stepped things up in the second half of the season.
In a recent victories against Dowagiac, emotions were running high as the team honored their departing seniors.
“It’s hard when you have so much emotion at the beginning of the game, it being senior night,” Head Coach Katrina Miller said. She said the girls did a good job of putting those emotions aside and being ready to play.
The Lady Bulldogs got out to an early lead in set one and never really lost control. Remi O’Neill chalked up an ace as Vicksburg won 25-18. Marley Ferguson got the final point on a kill during a heads-up play at the front of the net. It became the theme of the night as Vicksburg dominated play there. Miller gave a shout out to outside hitter Hannah Vallier’s play.
“That was the best she’s ever hit tonight. She was just pounding the ball,” Miller said. “It’s nice when you have a team where anybody can hit.”
The second set was a little bit closer, but the Lady Bulldogs won 25-21 thanks to their scrappy play and ace serves by Camille Wadley and Tailynn Knapp. It was a weird atmosphere in the gym for this game as the usually rowdy Bulldog faithful were somewhat quiet for a home game. “It was strange all around, but a win’s a win,” Miller said.
The third set was the closest of the bunch as Vicksburg got an early lead, but they just couldn’t shake the Chieftains, who kept battling their way back into it. But at the end, they were able to drive home the final kill and a final of 25-23. “I think all three games were a little closer than I would have liked,” Miller said.
The Lady Bulldogs are now 7-1 in Conference, but have some tough games approaching on the schedule. But Miller is happy with how things have progressed since they got off to a slow start in the beginning of the year. “This is probably my most improved group I’ve ever had from day one until now,” she said.
As the season starts to wind down, Miller says they will focus on serves and chemistry, the latter getting more of a focus than the former. “We can work on attacking drills, we can work on defensive drills and that’s great,” Miller said. “But we have to keep building our team chemistry or we’re not going to keep playing together.”