The Marshall Redhawks came out firing and sent the Pennfield Panthers packing in the first round of Michigan High School Athletic Association district volleyball play.
The Redhawks won 3-0 (25-10, 25-15, 25-22) in the Class B bout at Harper Creek on Monday night behind big nights from outside hitters Grace Crawford and Logan Kiessling, who each had had 12 kills and three blocks.
Marshall goes on to play Comstock on Wednesday night at Harper Creek High School in the next round of district play.
In Game 1, Marshall came out like a team with something to prove.
The Redhawks jumped out to an early 8-3 lead after back-to-back kills from the junior Crawford.
“I think we were definitely ready to get districts started,” Crawford said. “We were really excited and we played well together with a lot of enthusiasm.”
Marshall kept pouring it on from there, and before the Panthers could blink they were down 20-6.
Senior middle hitter Sarah Huffman’s tip over two blockers at the net sealed the deal for Marshall as they took the first game handily, 25-10.
“I felt if we started strong our chances of winning would greatly improve,” Marshall coach John Miller said. “I told the team that would be a key to our victory tonight and they responded.”
“But, I reminded the team that when we played Pennfield three weeks ago we did the exact same thing – we won game one 25-10 then the next two games were real close (25-22, 25-23) and we almost went too much into cruise control.
And we have to make sure we don’t do that because a team like Pennfield has enough firepower to come up and beat us if we let them.”
In Game 2, the Panthers did make Marshall sweat a little bit. Pennfield trailed by just two, 14-16, late in the game. But a five point Redhawks run, highlighted by several diving digs by senior libero Carmen O’Dell, put Marshall back in control with a 21-14 lead.
Marshall ended the game on a 9-1 run to take Game 2 by a score of 25-15.
O’Dell finished with a match-high 18 digs on the day.
Game 3 was a see-saw battle, as each team traded leads several times.
The score was tied at 22-22 until Marshall ended the night with three straight points and a match-ending kill from Crawford.
Morgan Benham led the Redhawks with 24 assists and 12 digs.
Pennfield was led in kills by Tristen Ehredt, who had 11 along with six digs. Kailey Jackson had 17 assists and three blocks for the Panthers while Hannah Day had seven digs and five kills.
Pennfield ends its season 21-23-2 overall.
Class C (at) Union City
Bronson 3, Hillsdale 1: Bronson won by scores of 25-12, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18.
The eighth-ranked Vikings advance to face host Union City on Wednesday, beginning at 7 p.m. at Union City High School.
Bronson was led by Kylei Ratkowski with 11 kills and 17 digs; Skyler Sobeski had 11 kills and 14 digs; Kassidy Bystry had 13 digs; Emily Mayes had seven kills and two blocks; Brooke O’Neill had six kills and Alexa Ratkowski had 41 assists, three kills and four digs.
Class D (at) Athens
Athens 3, Colon 0: Athens won by scores of 25-14, 25-14 and 25-10.
The Indians advance to play second-ranked Mendon on Wednesday, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Athens High School.
Athens (33-17-3) was led by Chantel Davenport with 18 kills, four assists, six digs and one block; Teasha Swank had six kills, eight digs and five aces; Valerie Rubley had 27 assists, two aces and 13 digs; Allison Fuller had seven digs, three aces and one kill; Ashley Smittendorf had six digs; Tara Wygant had six digs; Audrey Oswalt had seven kills and two digs; and Payton Norton had three kills and two digs.