VOLLEYBALL: Top-ranked St. Mary’s ousts Oakland Christian in quarterfinals
BY DAN STICKRADT
YPSILANTI — If you would have told Priscilla Larned in August that Auburn Hills Oakland Christian would reach the state quarterfinals this season, she would not have agreed.
“I would have told you that you were crazy,” admitted Larned, who has coached girls volleyball at Oakland Christian for nearly three decades. “Back in August, I never would have even imagined us getting to the state quarterfinals. I wouldn’t have believed it a month ago.”
Still, the Lancers made a magical run to that point this season.
Oakland Christian ran into a buzz saw Tuesday at Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center. Top-ranked Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central put an end to the Lancers’ title hopes with a 25-14, 25-23, 26-24 victory.
St. Mary CC, which moved to 48-5-0 overall, played in its 10th state quarterfinals in 12 seasons and will next play in the state semifinals Thursday at 2 p.m. at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena against Concord. Oakland Christian ended its season with a 33-18-4 record.
St. Mary’s won the state title in 2010, its third in the past decade, and finished as the state runner-up in 2011.
“St. Mary was very good,” sighed Larned, whose program played in its seventh state quarterfinals matchup since 1998 but first in Class C. “We have been to the state semifinals a couple of times but never a state final. I knew this would be a tough one. We always seem to draw one of the top teams in the state every time we get his far. But I am not complaining. We got further than anyone anticipated us to go. This was the farthest we’ve gone in Class C.”
With an experienced roster full of players that were playing in their third straight state quarterfinals, St. Mary CC dominated the opener. The second and third game saw the upstart Lancers fight tooth and nail before falling away.
“I think they had a lot more experience than we did playing at this level,” offered Larned. “We always play in a lot of tough tournaments, but it’s a different game playing this (deep) in the (state) tournament. They are just a very experienced and well-disciplined team.”
Oakland Christian led 18-8 in Game 3 but could not hold onto the momentum. St. Mary CC closed out with a 18-6 run to end the set and match.
Marcella Compeau collected a team-high 10 kills and 20 digs for Oakland Christian. Becky VanSloten added nine kills and two blocks, while Erin Washington chipped in with 19 assists for Oakland Christian.
Cassanddra Haut led St.Mary CC with ne kills and three blocks. McKenzie Tood added nine kills, Keley Geiman added eight kills and Clare McMillan followed with 25 assists for the Falcons.
(Dan Stickradt is Senior Editor for Digital Daily www.northoaklandsports.com and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine, as well as a freelance writer for multiple media outlets, including State Champs! High School Sports Show website. He is a 20-year veteran sports journalist based in Oakland County, Mich. He can be reached by email at [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @LocalSportsFans.)