Dominant Schoolcraft blasts Valley Lutheran
BATTLE CREEK — It only took a few points in Friday’s semifinals for Schoolcraft’s volleyball team to prove they are the team to beat in Division 3.
Erin Onken’s top-ranked Lady Eagles looked very comfortable from the first point to the very last in rolling past No. 10-ranked Saginaw Valley Lutheran 25-10, 25-11, 25-12 at Battle Creek Kellogg Arena.
Schoolcraft 48-6-1, faces No. 2-rated Monroe St. Mary’s Catholic Central in today’s state championship match at noon back at Kellogg Arena.
Monroe St. Mary’s defeated Beaverton 25-20, 25-17, 25-7 in the other semifinal.
The Lady Eagles, who will play in their first state final since 2014 when it lost to SMCC, were led by 5-foot-10 senior outside hitter Andelyn Simkins with 13 kills, two aces, eight digs and one block.
“We just look for holes in the opposing team’s defense. If we communicate then we do a nice job of hitting the ball to the open spots,” Simkins said.
Simkins recently signed her national letter of intent to play Division I volleyball at Western Michigan University.
“We play some great teams throughout the season. These girls don’t overlook anybody and do a good job of staying focused on the next match. We’ve played some great teams and some lesser ones, but we try and respect all of our opponents,” Schoolcraft’s head coach said.
“We make adjustments based on what the other team does. I don’t have to say too much to our girls. Our motto is always to keep things simple and concentrate on the things we do well as a team. We preach three things to the girls. Play with energy, constant communication and try to win the serve and serve-receive battle. I was surprised with how calm we were from the get go though. That’s a huge thing.”
Junior libero Kelby Golschmeding felt a big key to the match was her team’s play in the back row.
“We just focus on being on our toes and today we concentrated on delaying our block and going for the ball,” Goldschmeding said.
The Lady Eagles’ superior athleticism showed throughout the match as they gained complete control of the net, back row and from the service line.
Schoolcraft skipped out to a 9-2 advantage and was never seriously challenged in the opening game. Simkins, Allie Golschmeding, Anna Schuppel and Maggie Morris all had numerous kills in the game for the Lady Eagles.
Behind the serve of senior outside hitter Madi Ballett, Schoolcraft scored the first four points of the second game. A kill by Schuppel, a 6-1 junior middle blocker, put the Lady Eagles up 11-4.
Another kill on game point by Schuppel put Schoolcraft up 2-0 in the match.