Lady Hornets, Eagles out to prove they deserve No. 1 ranking today

BATTLE CREEK — Mendon and Schoolcraft try to add more hardware to their school trophy case today when they vie for a state title at the Battle Creek Kellogg Arena.
Top-ranked Mendon attempts to claim back-to-back Division 4 titles when it faces No. 5-ranked Leland today at 10 a.m. in a rematch of last year’s state final.
Meanwhile, No. 1 Schoolcraft battles No. 2 Monroe St. Mary’s Catholic Central at noon in the Division 3 championship.
Mendon’s return to the championship match is a bit of a surprise after the Lady Hornets graduated five key seniors off last year’s title squad, including first-team all-staters Aubrey Crotser at setter and outside hitter Hayley Kramer.
But the Lady Hornets haven’t let the graduation losses stand in their way of another long postseason journey.
Mendon’s run through the 2019 postseason tournament has been memorable for a much younger team.
On its way, Mendon has knocked off No. 2-ranled Camden-Frontier 3-1 in the state quarterfinals, No. 3 Battle Creek St. Philip in a regional final sweep and disposed of No. 4-ranked Southfield Christian in a grueling five-set thriller in Friday’s semifinals.
Bowers and her team are looking forward to today’s confrontation with the Leland Comets, the No. 5-ranked team.
“They are a better setting and hitting team then they were last year. We will have to serve more efficiently and effectively than we did on Friday or we will be in trouble,” Bowers said.
Leland has stronger blockers than last year which could cause a problem for Mendon, which has a much smaller front row than it did in last year’s final.
Mendon is led by junior outside hitter Anna Smith, who had a team-high 36 kills against Southfield Christian.
The Lady Hornets also get solid contributions from senior Taylor Heitkamp and junior Andrea Hoffman, along with senior setter Gracie Russell and senior defensive specialist Julianna Hagenbuch.

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