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Bronson defeats Brown City, 3-1, to take third Class C title in eight seasons

By: Dan Stickradt, November 19, 2016, 5:15 pm

(Photos by Hockey Weekly | MHSAA Network)


Battle Creek – Bronson enjoyed winning a state championship last season so much so that the Vikings wanted nothing more than to relive that moment.

Second-ranked Bronson repeated as Class C champions on Saturday as it defeated Brown City, 3-1, at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.

It was the school’s third title in eight seasons.

After succumbing to Brown City in the first set, 25-23, the Vikings regrouped to post 25-22, 25-11 25-19 victories.

Brown City was making its first final appearance.

After Brown City built a 20-17 advantage in the second game, Bronson (50-9-6) finally found its groove, closing the set with an 8-2 run to steal the momentum.

The Vikings then carried play in the final two sets with Keona Salesman slamming back-to-back kills to end the match.

“As a senior, this is a lot more emotional,” Salesman said. “It’s weird feeling that this is our last game together. But we’re a family and we wanted to get back here and win it again.”

Brown City served Bronson its wake up call in the first game and the late advantage in Game 2. The Green Devils became Bronson’s sole opponent to not get swept during the 2016 postseason.

“I was thinking that (Brown City) is playing really well and we hadn’t shown up yet,” said Bronson coach Jean LaClair. “We were making some mistakes. We finally got on a little bit of a roll and we’re able to pull out (that set).”

Salesman and Jill Pyles each had 12 kills and Allison Sikorski recorded a match-high 13 kills and 14 digs for Bronson. Kiana Mayer contributed 40 assists and Kiera Lasky served up three aces for the Vikings.

“We just had a couple of mental lapses in the second game. We were rolling. We were feeling good here,” Brown City coach Jenn Welke said. “We just had a few serve receive errors that we kind of let get into our head a little bit and we couldn’t get out of it. That’s a great serving team and we needed to limit their runs. We just got a little frazzled there and (Bronson got back) into it. This is the very first time our school has got to a state championship game. The pressure situations kind of got to us a little bit.”

LaClair said all of the titles are unique.

“They’re all special, not one over another,” LaClair said. “We have a special group of girls in this program. We lost some from last season (to graduation) and we’ll lose some from this year’s

team. But you have to have a great work ethic to survive in this program. I think it’s the work ethic that helps us succeed every year. We also have an amazing community in Bronson. From the regionals on, every kid that rode the student bus didn’t have to pay to get into games. We had business leaders and local businesses step up. We have a special community, from the players right on down (the list).”

Brown City reached the semifinals last season for the first time.

Welke, a former Oakland University standout who took over the program in 2013, has led the Green Devils to 114 wins over four seasons with four district titles, three regional, two semifinals and one state finals appearance.

“These seniors have made the program,” said Welke. “They have developed the players under them. We hope to keep it going.”

Becki Krause led brown City (45-10-5) with 12 kills and 12 digs. Kendal Muxlow added 11 kills and 11 digs and Alexa Mason recorded 29 assists and five aces for the Green Devils.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Remember to watch the highlights from this game on the STATE CHAMPS! HS Sports Show, Sunday morning at 9:00 am on Fox Sports Detroit!