ST. CLAIR – The feeling of losing a district title a year ago was an unfamiliar one for the Marysville volleyball team. It was also very unpleasant.
The Vikings left little doubt this week while making sure they didn’t have to feel that again.
Marysville finished off a perfect district tournament Thursday night with a 25-11, 25-15, 25-18 win against Lutheran North to claim a Class B district title. The Vikings advance to the regional semifinal — for which they will be hosts — Tuesday against Armada, the team that had snapped their 25-year district streak the year before.
“I’m so happy right now, since we didn’t win last year, we failed to win it; then this year, it’s just an amazing feeling to win it again,” Marysville junior Bailey Bowns said. “(Coming up short last year) makes it so much more special.”
Marysville (47-7-1) swept all three of its district opponents, and Lutheran North’s 18 points in the third set on Thursday were the most they allowed through the tournament. In five of the nine sets it played, the opposition was kept in single digits.
In the final, one night after setting the tone with its big hitters, Marysville set the tone with its back row. Bowns and Mikayla Morgan were a combined 32-of-33 on service receptions, quelling a Lutheran North strength and setting up the Viking offense.
“It’s something we’ve focused on in practice; we knew what a great serving team they had, one of the best we’ve faced all year,” Marysville coach Ryan Welser said. “At this time of year, to be serve-receiving at that level is the difference between the people that are moving on and winning championships, and the people that aren’t.”
On the other end, the Vikings were nearly perfect from the service line, coming in at a 96 percent clip as a team.
“Lutheran North, they have two fantastic outside (hitters), and I don’t think they ran a play in system but maybe two or three times the entire game,” Welser said. “We served them tough, we served the right zones. They were passing balls outside the 10-foot line the whole night, setters couldn’t get balls to the outsides, and defense becomes easy.
“We really controlled the game with serve and serve-receive. We serve-received the best we have all year and we served at 96 percent. For one girl to serve 96 percent for a game is great, and we served as a team an average of 96 percent.”
The girls up front did their part, too, led by Ali Bastianelli’s 21 kills and four blocks, to go along with seven digs. Payton Husson added seven kills and two blocks, and Devan Valko had 24 assists, four digs and two kills. She also led the charge from the service line, going 19-of-19 on the night.
“We definitely did what we wanted to do tonight,” said Valko, who Welser said was ill. “We took control and we limited our mistakes, and that really helped us.”
Following their match, the Vikings weren’t aware of who was next, as Armada and Croswell-Lexington were still playing, but they figured that either way, it was going make for a great match, and a great atmosphere on Tuesday.
“I’m so excited for that,” Bowns said. “I can’t wait.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.
Marysville’s Hayley Delor sets the ball Thursday, Nov. 6 during their volleyball match against Lutheran North at St. Clair High School.