LAWTON – Something rare happened on Thursday night in the Class C regional final between Class C No. 2-ranked Bronson and No. 8 ranked Kalamazoo Christian at Lawton High School.
During the match, Jean LaClair – Bronson’s Hall of Fame head coach – cracked a smile.
“I might have a couple times,” LaClair said. “Oh my gosh, when Jill (Pyles) kept serving and serving and serving, it was pretty awesome.”
Pyles finished with a match-high nine aces in leading Bronson to a 3-0 (25-14, 25-19, 25-13) regional championship over Kalamazoo Christian. With the victory, the defending state champion Vikings advance to Tuesday’s state quarterfinal against ninth-ranked Laingsburg.
“We were clicking tonight I thought on all cylinders,” LaClair said. “Every hitter was on. It didn’t matter who Kiana (Mayer) set, they were going to get some kills. We also had some great hustle plays and played pretty good defense, because they are a good team.”
Bronson led from start-to-finish, with Allison Sikorski hammering home the match-winning kill to the excitement of a loud Vikings crowd. The senior outside hitter finished with a team-best 12 kills to go with four digs, two blocks and one ace.
“I think at the beginning of every game there is a little bit of nerves, but we had an amazing student section and crowd and that helped us out a lot,” Sikorski said. “I think we have a target on our back, but we still play the best we can and don’t let it bother us.”
Pyles, a senior middle blocker, recorded six kills, two blocks and seven digs to go with her nine aces.
“I just wanted to make sure I kept calm,” Pyles said. “You have to keep everyone calm and don’t freak out too much about the crowd or the situation, just play how we know how to play.”
Also for Bronson (46-9-6), junior outside hitter Adyson Lasky had seven digs; sophomore middle hitter Ashton Wronikowski had three kills and three blocks; senior outside hitter Clare Mayes had two digs and two aces; freshman middle hitter Keona Salesman had six kills and two blocks; junior setter Kiana Mayer had 30 assists and five kills; sophomore defensive specialist Kiera Lasky had 10 digs; and sophomore defensive specialist Paris Outwater had 10 digs.
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley