Marysville senior Bailey Bowns celebrates scoring a point during a regional semifinal volleyball game Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at Imlay City High School.
IMLAY CITY It was intense.
A battle of wills between two of the best teams in the state ensued Tuesday at a Class B regional semifinal at Imlay City High School.
After four action packed games, the Marysville Vikings got their revenge against Notre Dame Prep, ending the Fighting Irish’ season one year after falling to them in the playoffs.
Marysville won 25-14, 26-24, 19-25 and 25-22 to advance to the Class B regional finals. Marysville will face Goodrich at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
“I love playing in this kind of atmosphere,” Marysville senior middle hitter Payton Husson said after pacing the team with 24 kills, eight digs and two blocks. “I think we all rise to the occasion. That’s something special about our team. I think we all have extra motivation to have that banner hung and get a championship.”
Marysville got off to the best start imaginable in Game 1, with a 5-0 start behind five consecutive service points from Hannah Delore. The Vikings continued their momentum even after the Fighting Irish answered with four straight points. Marysville regained the momentum and surged ahead 8-4, 12-6 and eventually 20-10 before winning the game 25-14.
“I think when we play tough teams like this we really show what we are capable of,” Vikings senior Bailey Bowns said. “When we keep the energy it makes it that much more fun.”
The second game was much more competitive. The teams were tied early at three apiece before Marysville began to take control.
Marysville went up 10-4 and later 19-13 to force Notre Dame Prep to call time out. But the Fighting Irish wouldn’t go away. They responded with four straight points to pull within 19-17 and then a dog fight ensued.
Notre Dame Prep (46-10-6) tied the game at 23 and then took a 24-23 lead before Marysville closed out the game with the straight points admits raucous applause.
“We started really flat in the first game and it took us a while to get going for whatever reason,” Notre Dame Prep coach Betty Wroubel said. “We got ourselves in a hole and then we played tight. That second set we kind of had them. We had them 24-23 and we made three critical mistakes that gave them the game.
“That was a big swing. But we battled back. We just made too many mistakes. They won the serve and pass game and that usually wins the match for you. We misfired too many serves and we couldn’t get our sets in a zone that we could attack. They outplayed us. They out energized us and they deserved to win this game. We are pretty even teams but they outplayed us today. It’s a fine club and they are very well coached.”
The third game was highly contested as Prep raced ahead 4-1. But the Vikings showed their resiliency and rattled off seen of the next eight points to take a 8-5 lead. They went up by as much as 14-10 before the Fighting Irish started to close the gap. Notre Dame Prep surged ahead and then defeated Marysville 25-19.
“We just kept each other up,” Marysville senior Devan Valko said after recording 33 assists, nine digs and two kills. “Our defense was on point. Our hitting was on point. Everything was just clicking tonight and every time we got down we picked each other up. The fans really help us with our energy. We are really thankful for them.”
With the Vikings dropping their first game of the night, the intensity increased even more in the Imlay City gym as the Fighting Irish saw their chance to draw even.
The Fighting Irish got off to a good start, scoring the first three points of Game four. Marysville however, continued to answer and never allowed Notre Dame Prep to pull away.
Down the stretch Marysville took control but Notre Dame Prep pulled within 20-18 late. That didn’t stop Marysville from continuing to play its game and after a couple of Notre Dame Prep mistakes, the Vikings eventually got the victory on a Payton Husson kill to advance to the regional final.
Mikayla Morgan added 13 digs, Shannon Curley had eight digs and Delor had five kills, three aces and a match-high 16 service points. Sam Miller added three blocks.
“I just think we have spent a year since we got knocked out from them last year preparing and building that mental toughness for this moment,” Marysville coach Ryan Welser said. “This is as good of a win that we have had in a regional tournament before. I’m so proud of the girls. All 15 of them were in it. We played crazy, crazy defense tonight.”
Pioneers fall short
In the early game, Goodrich dispatched of Croswell-Lexington in three games, .
The Pioneers hung tough in the first game and trailed 24-20 late when they lost middle hitter Rebecca Oden to an ankle injury.
After play resumed, Goodrich closed out the game 25-21. The loss of the game hurt, but losing Oden was an even bigger blow.
“A lot of things didn’t go our way,” Cros-Lex coach Ryan Wilson said. “We hadn’t had an injury all year and sometimes when that happens it can be tough.”
The Pioneers never recovered And in the second game they quickly fell behind. They trailed 6-2 and later 13-5.
Goodrich increased the lead to 19-7 and eventually won the game going away at 25-10.
The Pioneers will graduate five seniors, including Megan Jex, Rachel Soper, Allessa Calamita, Megan Baker and Makayla Boshaw.
“This was one of the most enjoyable seasons I’ve had,” Wilson said.
Calamita had 15 serve receptions, eight digs and six kills. Soper added 15 assists, four digs and four kills. Lexie Davidson had 15 serve receptions and six digs and Claire Knapp had 22 serve receptions, eight digs and five kills. Laurel Shaw had 11 digs and seven serve receptions and Jex had nine digs.
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @Joseph_Hayes11.