Centreville ends years of frustration
CENTREVILLE — Centreville senior volleyball players Skyler DeMeyer and Hannah Marchand made sure the Bulldogs got a trophy this time.
One year after losing a five-set thriller to Schoolcraft, Centreville disposed easily of Decatur 25-19, 25-16, 25-8 in the Class C district finals match at White Pigeon.
Centreville (34-13-5) advances to the Lawton Regional on Tuesday where it faces Kalamazoo Christian in the night’s second match at 7:30 p.m.
The win ends a 21-year drought without a district title. Centreville’s last district volleyball title came in 1995 under Cathy Mostrom.
“Honestly I think winning this district title was our main focus all year long,” said Centreville head coach Melissa Gales. “We strengthened our schedule this season playing bigger schools in some tough tournaments to prepare us for teams like Schoolcraft and other schools we will see in regionals.”
The Bulldogs’ schedule hasn’t been a cakewalk by any means. Gales’ team competed in some big tournaments like Charlotte where it beat East Lansing and Olivet. Centreville also competed in the Adrian Tournament and Union City Tournament where it knocked off state-ranked Mendon and Athens.
It all paid off Wednesday when Centreville disposed of No. 9-ranked Schoolcraft in four games in the district semifinals.
“I cannot express how excited I am for my girls and how proud I am of each one of them,” Gales said. “We appreciated the support from our students, staff and the community. Tonight was huge. Hard work, commitment and teamwork pays off.
“At our pep assembly we pointed out that we wanted to add numbers to our banners. I don’t think the girls realize the importance and hype of this, but they were focused and they knew what they needed to do.”
Marchand was on her game finishing the night 100 percent from the service line, including two aces to go with 11 assists, 12 kills, three blocks, 10 digs and hit .435.
“I would say practicing hard all week and our communication were key and it got us a win tonight,” Marchand said. “I’m our first option so I just wanted to play well tonight for our team. It’s a huge accomplishment for our school.”
DeMeyer, the Lady Bulldogs’ No. 1 setter, was instrumental in the win as well with 18 assists, four kills, nine digs and one block.
“We played together,” DeMeyer said. “Our tough semifinal game with Schoolcraft helped us put it all together today and we won in three. We really had to work hard to get here. We knew we could do it and just pushed hard.
“We weren’t nervous at all tonight. I think we had a lot of touches off the blocks that helped. The girls returning off last year’s team hated the feeling of losing in five in the district finals so it provided a lot of motivation.”
But perhaps the biggest lift Centreville needed came from sophomore Samara Schlabach with 10 kills, two blocks, two digs and .562 hitting .
“Samara was hitting lights out tonight,” Gales said. “She has found her confidence and comfort at the net as a hitter and blocker and made her presence known.”
Sara Lewis was a force at the service line for Centreville. The junior libero finished the night serving 92 percent, including seven aces, and had 18 digs.
Junior Kalee Schrock served 100 percent with two aces, one assist, three kills, .429 hitting, one block and three digs for the Lady Bulldogs.
Brittany Morris, another junior, added eight digs and served 100 percent. Carlee Odom added one ace, two kills and six digs. Logan Jourdan served 100 percent with one kill, one block and seven digs. Ivee Lewis added two kills. Jaedan Blades had four digs and Joanna Larsen added one kill.
Centreville couldn’t find much breathing room in game three Thursday and led by just two points, 10-8 following a tip by Marchand.
But Sara Lewis stepped up to the service line and served the final 15 points, including five aces, to end the game and match for the Lady Bulldogs. Schlabach blasted a kill down the middle to record match point.
The two teams battled back and forth early in game one. Sara Lewis served up seven straight points in a critical run that saw the Lady Bulldogs increase their lead to 17-10.
Centreville eventually led 21-12 after winning a pair of points off tips and a kill by the 6-foot-0 Marchand.
Odom’s ace, Marchand’s tip, Schlabach’s kill and a Decatur hitting error gave the Lady Bulldogs four points to finish out the first game.
Game two was back and forth until Centreville was able to assert itself and build a 16-6 cushion following a key block at the net by Schlabach.
The Lady Bulldogs got critical kills late in the game from Marchand, Schlabach and Jourdan to win game two.
Gales felt her team had a few too many errors, but the Lady Bulldogs still overcame them.
Scott Hassinger can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 25 or firstname.lastname@example.org.