CLASS C GIRLS VOLLEYBALL SEMIFINALS: Beal City too much for Oakland Christian in state semis
BY DAN STICKRADT
BATTLE CREEK — No magic this time.
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian’s unexpected and magical run through the girls volleyball Class C state tournament ended abruptly in Friday’s state semifinals, as third-ranked Beal City took a little more than an hour to sweep the Lancers, 3-0, at Battle Creeks Kellogg Arena.
The Aggies posted a 25-22, 25-15, 25-18 victory to keep their title dreams alive.
Beal City (56-3-1), the highest-ranked team in the Final Four, will face eighth-ranked Grand Rapids Covenant Christian in the state finals Saturday. Oakland Christian finishes 38-8-8 and was unranked all season but still made its fifth Final Four in 15 seasons — and it’s first in Class C.
“Beal City was really good. Their passing was phenomenal,” noted Oakland Christian coach Priscilla Larned. “They got the ball to their setter almost every time and their hitters had plenty of opportunities. We didn’t pass all that well and it showed.”
Addie Schumacher led Beal City with 14 kills on 25-for-30 attacking. The taller Aggies had too much firepower for the Lancers to overcome, and routinely took advantage of Oakland Christian’s mistakes.
“Our defense did a great job tonight — they have all season — and we just played a good game, other than the first (set),” said the 6-foot-1 Schumacher.
A year ago, the Aggies reached the Class D state finals, only to fall to 18-time state champion Battle Creek St. Phillip Catholic, which advanced to its sixth straight Class D title game this weekend as well. Playing in Class C for the first time, Beal City is one win away from glory and their first state title in volleyball.
“Now that we don’t have to play St. Phillip, I think we have a great chance,” said Beal City coach Kelly David. “I think we got a taste of what it’s like (last year). We’re hoping to come out strong and
Nicole Gross had six kills and 10 digs and Jenna Theisen followed with 26 assists for the Aggies.
“I think we were fortunate enough to sneak (Game 1) out and that gave us some momentum,” said David. “We made some adjustments and started blocking. We switched some assignments and then we started to play better.
“That made a difference for us,” continued David. “We played a lot better in the second and third games. We did a better job getting the ball to our hitters.”
Oakland Christian held early leads in all three games, including 20-17 in Game 1. Each time Beal City weathered the storm.
The Lancers had 10 service errors and 21 attacking errors (77-for-98) that aided their demise. Marcella Compeau finished 24-for-30 attacking with 13 kills and 12 digs. Camille Schomer added eight kills and nine digs and Elaine Haggard supplied 29 assists for Oakland Christian.
“I thought we had such an emotional comeback win on Tuesday night. We were down 2-0 and they had us at match-point in the third game before we came back and beat them,” said Larned. “I don’t know what happened tonight. We made some mistakes against a really good team. We just didn’t have any magic this time.”