Six teams battled for a combined 63 sets on Saturday at Harper Creek High School for the right to take home the Mick Haley Volleyball Award at the 2016 All-City Volleyball Tournament.
In the end, Lakeview was just two points better than Class B eighth-ranked Harper Creek, as the Spartans won the championship on a third set tiebreaker to claim their first All-City title since 2007.
“This being my senior year it’s really cool to win All-City,” said Lakeview’s Emma Morey. “Last year we didn’t do so well at All-City, so to come out this year we really wanted to show the city who we are.”
The Spartans emerged from round-robin play with the top seed after going 9-1. Then they held off a strong push from Pennfield in the semifinals, 25-23, 25-22. In the finals against Harper Creek, Lakeview won the first set 25-20 before dropping the second set, 25-19. They won a back-and-forth tiebreaker by a score of 15-13.
“We set small goals all year, and this tournament was one of them for sure,” said Lakeview interim head coach Jason Moore. “I’m really proud of the girls in they way they stayed tough. We’ve been on the upside of tiebreakers lately, so we felt confident coming into this. And you can’t take Harper Creek for granted.”
Lakeview was led by Sidney Schiller with 59 kills and 30 digs; Rose Tecumseh had 49 kills, 25 digs and 11 aces; Karlie Kucharczyk had 37 kills and 40 digs; and Morey had 131 assists.
“It’s such a big thing because as a senior, it’s so amazing to finally win something,” said Lakeview’s Rose Tecumseh. “You’ll never get this experience again, so it’s great to do it with our team.”
Harper Creek, winners of the last two city championships, advanced to the finals with a 25-14, 25-15 win over Class D honorable mention St. Philip.
“Of course we wanted to take home the trophy again today and of course that’s disappointing,” said Harper Creek head coach Terra King. “Like I told the girls, nothing I say is going to make that not sting. But I hope it gives us a little extra momentum and energy going forward because we are starting to see the pieces of the puzzle come together.”
The Beavers were the No. 2 seed after going 8-2 in round-robin play. Harper Creek’s Charley Andrews, a Miss Volleyball finalist, finished with a tournament-high 109 kills with 12 blocks, 54 digs and 14 aces. Also for the Beavers, Faith Hayes had 43 kills, 44 digs and 10 aces; Katie Wade had 196 assists, 33 kills, 24 digs and nine aces; and Jacey Bowers had 41 digs and 10 kills.
St. Philip went 6-4 in pool play to earn the No. 3 seed. The Fighting Tigers were led by Kameron Haley with 46 kills and 37 digs. Taylor Pessetti had 59 assist, three aces and 25 digs; Maya Segovia had 23 kills; and Kirstin Finnila had 12 kills, four aces and 27 digs.
Pennfield was the fourth seed after posting a 4-6 record in pool play. The Panthers were led on the day by Melanie McIntyre with 33 kills; Shelby Smyers had 23 kills and 25 digs; Taylor Baird had 39 digs and 47 assists; Zoey McCleary had 47 assists; Alicia Lake had 13 blocks; Jaylyn Shepard had seven aces; and Emily Biergeder had four aces.
The All-City Tournament began in 1979, and Saturday marked the first time Calhoun Christian was added to the field. The Cougars nearly advanced out of round robin play by posting a 3-7 record, earning a sweep over Battle Creek Central and a split with St. Philip.
“It’s kind of a big deal for our school community to be considered one of the All-City schools because we’re in the city,” said Calhoun Christian head caoch Taria Moser. “They were pretty stoked to be recognized among the other city schools… We’re actually very happy with how the girls played today. We had a couple lulls because we don’t usually see that high of competition in our conference. But our girls stepped up when they needed to.”
Calhoun Christian was led on the day by Kirby Frodge with 38 kills, 12 blocks, 31 digs, four aces and 37 assists. Also for the Cougars, Lindsey Barry had 36 kills, four aces, four blocks and 52 digs; Abby Parks had 14 kills, seven blocks and 30 assists; Kara Twiest had 38 digs and Lauren Wilcox had eight kills, four aces and 30 digs.
Battle Creek Central finished 0-10 on the day. The Bearcats were led by Ayrianna Smith with 11 kills and 10 aces, while Erion Traylor had 91 assists and Mya Trevino had nine blocks and 10 digs.
Nick Buckley can be reached at email@example.com or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley