Opponents are finding out that Plymouth Christian Academy’s varsity girls volleyball team means business.
The latest team finding that out was Livingston Christian, walking into the PCA gym for Thursday night’s Class D district final and quickly reversing course 75 minutes later after getting pummeled in three games (with the Eagles winning 25-14, 25-11, 25-17).
“We wanted to prove a point, we want to prove a point every time we go out and play,” said Eagles head coach Katie Decker, shortly after the trophy presentation. “We want to show something. We pushed down on the gas and we don’t let up.”
The district title was the second in a row for the Eagles, ranked No. 6 in Class D with a 27-5-2 record. The hot home streak has a chance to continue: PCA is hosting regionals beginning 7 p.m. Tuesday.
Decker said the experience gained last season definitely is a plus.
“It helps, you know, when you’ve done it before,” Decker noted. “We have five seniors. So we’ve got a lot of girls that were on the team last year, they know how to do it.
“They know how to win and they know how to get it done.”
The place to be
Hoisting the district trophy during the postgame ceremony were those seniors — Kelsey Williamson, Callie Morby, Raina Postma, Danielle Witkowski and Abby Wyman.
The latter is a first-year PCA player who made quite an impact after relocating from South Carolina last summer.
“This is really great, I’m so glad to be able to play with this great group of girls,” Wyman said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. We all came together.”
Wyman, a front-row presence all night with nine kills, said the team dug down deep for a little extra in order to turn the tables on the Falcons. They had defeated PCA in a regular season match.
“After we had lost to them earlier in the season,” Wyman noted, “we just had so much fire to take them down, beat them and win this district. We just want to go all the way.”
Just as confident was sophomore outside hitter Olivia Mady, who tallied seven kills and nine digs.
“It feels amazing (to win districts),” Mady said. “From the beginning we knew that we were going to be a strong team and today we really proved it. We came out so intense and aggressive.
“… if we work together and are as aggressive as we played tonight I believe we can make it to states.”
There were many others who contributed to the impressive victory.
Sophomore libero Divna Roi tallied eight digs while also spearheading a defense that frustrated the Falcons.
“We played some great defense tonight, (we) didn’t let things drop,” Decker said. “We didn’t give up on things. One time we got the ball back over and they had already started cheering thinking they got the point.
“Tough defense definitely keeps you in games.”
Setting things up with 16 assists each were Postma and sophomore Jessica Paulson while sophomore middle hitter Aliyah Pries chipped in with four kills.
Freshman outside hitter Grace Kellogg led the squad with 13 kills and 12 digs. Yet she downplayed her own contributions when asked following the game about the team’s potent offense.
“We have Abby, she’s really consistent, she’s been doing really, really good.,” Kellogg said. “And we also have Aliyah (Pries) and Olivia (Mady) and Kelsey (Williamson), we have a lot of hitters.
“They’re just all on. We were confident.”
Thursday’s contest looked pretty much in hand most of the way for PCA, although the Falcons did mount a surge in the middle of Game 2.
Junior Nicole Jusino served up three points to slice PCA’s lead to 11-8, at which point Decker called a time out.
On the next serve, Paulson set up Wyman for a slam to get the defensive sideout point (making it 12-8 instead of 11-9).
Morby then went off from the service stripe, reeling off nine consecutive points to blow the game open at 21-8.
Wyman and Paulson teamed up to block two of those points while Postma’s feed to Kellogg resulted in another spike kill.
In the third game, the Falcons briefly led 2-1.
Then came another superb string of PCA serves by Postma to make it 6-2. Punctuating the run was Mady, who powered home two of those five points.
That was pretty much the ballgame, as Livingston Christian could not muster much of an attack.
Only once the rest of Game 3 did the Falcons score more than one point during any single serving stint (by senior Jacqueline Goddard, cutting the PCA lead to 19-15).
Of course, the Eagles immediately snuffed out any potential trouble and finished off the victory in quick order.
Very businesslike, in fact.