…But fall to Monroe St. Mary Catholic

Photo by Stephanie Blentlinger, Lingering Memories Photography.

After their quarter-final win, the Eagles headed back to play at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena where they expected to play Valley Lutheran High School, a Saginaw team which defeated Royal Oak’s Shrine Catholic 3-0 in a Jan. 12 quarter-final. But 13 days before the scheduled match, Valley Lutheran was forced to forfeit the game due to a positive COVID test.

The Eagles continued to practice, following health guidelines.

For the second straight year, the Schoolcraft team prepared for a face-off with the Kestrels from Monroe St Mary Catholic Central. Last season’s championship had come down to a tie-breaker match that the Kestrels won 15-12. These two powerhouse teams first met in 2014; the Kestrels came out on top. The Eagles were hungry for payback.

Monroe started out tough in Set 1, stretching a 6-0 point run before Eagles Coach Onken called a timeout to give the team a breather. With a tremendous block by Anna Schupel, the Eagles were able to get some momentum, bringing the score up to 11-8 Kestrels. Monroe came back to add more points, stretching the score to 17-10. The Eagles found it hard to get a momentum going, especially at the net – the Kestrels front line blocked almost everything.

Set 1 belonged to the Kestrels as defense became a factor between these two teams. The Eagles came on late bringing the score closer, but the Kestrels won, 25-19.

Kelby Goldschmeding started off serving in Set 2, but the Eagles quickly fell behind 8-4. It seemed that wherever the Eagles hit the ball a Kestrel was there with a save. Soon, the Kestrels started to make some unforced errors, allowing the Eagles to work their way back a little. Unfortunately, the Eagles dropped Set 2, 25-14.

Set 3 was a championship set for Monroe St. Mary and a stay-alive set for Schoolcraft. The Eagles started with some success, making it 5-5. The Kestrels stretched the lead going on a 15-3 scoring streak, eventually defeating the Eagles 28-8 to claim back-to-back Division 3 titles.

Leading the Eagles was senior Maggie Morris with 9 kills, 2 digs, 2 blocks and an ace. Senior Anna Schupel added 6 kills and 2 blocks. Senior Kayla Onken had 3 kills, 15 assists, 6 digs, 1 block and 1 ace. Senior Allie Goldschmeding contributed 15 digs, 3 assists and Senior Kelby Goldschmeding added 15 digs and 3 assists.

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