By Mark Blentlinger
On Nov. 15, three days after the Schoolcraft volleyball team beat Kalamazoo Christian to win its fourth consecutive Regional Championship, the MHSAA made an announcement: Every fall sport was being put on a three-week pause, no competition and no practice. Volleyball had just three games left to complete the entire season – state quarter-finals, semi-finals and the state championship. MHSAA on Dec. 29 announced that the fall season could resume practice Jan. 4. With just eight days of practice after being idle for weeks, the Eagles would face off against Calvin Christian in the quarter-finals at Loy Norrix High School. Two days prior to the game it was announced 50 fans per team would be allowed.
In the Division 3 state quarter finals, Schoolcraft jumped out to an early lead of 5-0, over Grandville Calvin Christian, with Kelby Goldschmeding serving and showing some great defense. Calvin was able to close the gap slowly with some unforced errors by the Eagles. Neither team looked like it had missed a beat with the weeks of delay.
Both teams were making some tremendous defensive plays but the front line of the Eagles, consisting of Kayla Onken , Maggie Morris and Anna Schupel, just seemed too powerful for the Knights. The Eagles were able to take game one, 25-16. In game two, Calvin Christian was able to break out a lead on the Eagles 7-3, but a hard kill by Schupel led to a five-point rally. The Eagles put some great teamwork together to take the game, 25-17.
Game three was the deciding one. Either the Eagles would punch their ticket to Kellogg for the second straight year to play in the state semi-finals, or they’d play game four. The Eagles were working on a 10-point run before the Squires head Coach Amanda Bremmer called a time out to give her girls a chance to catch a breath and calm down. The Eagles had other plans. They began to strike back, keeping Calvin Christian on its heels. With the score sitting at 20-8 Eagles, another time out called by Calvin Christian gave the Eagles the little breather they needed.
Game three ended on Maggie Morris’ kill and a score of 25-12, sending the Eagles back to the semi-finals for the second year in a row.
By Mark Blentlinger