MHSAA Volleyball Returns Tuesday, Four SW Michigan Teams Remain
The continued effort to complete the Michigan High School Athletic Association's fall sports schedule continues this week with the final week of Girls Volleyball statewide.
The postseason for volleyball was stopped in mid-November, just before the final three rounds were set to be completed. After two whole months and the pilot program for COVID-19 testing in place for the fall sports, the sport's tournament will continue with its State Finals coming this Saturday, January 16th.
The good news is that the venue for the State Semifinals and Finals will remain the same as it has since the first Fall season of Girls Volleyball in 2007. Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek will host the Semifinal rounds on Thursday, January 14th, and Friday, January 15th, culminating with the State Finals. The only caveat will be that teams still participating in the tournament are allotted 50 tickets each for immediate family members for student-athletes and coaches.
The same regulations are being used for the State Quarterfinals, taking place Tuesday, January 12th at several neutral sites statewide. With that, here's a quick look at the teams in Southwest Michigan that still are in action with the road to Kellogg Arena becoming clearer into view.
Division 2 - Edwardsburg
The Edwardsburg Eddies are on a prolific run in their school's history. The Cass County school is more known for their football teams (state runner-up in 2017 and state champion in 2018). The Blue and Orange do have state title in volleyball to their credit (the second lower peninsula title when the MHSAA recognized the sport in 1977). Edwardsburg defeated Harper Creek in the Regional Finals in November to advance to the State Quarters and swept 8th ranked Hamilton the round before.
The Eddies will have the daunting task of trying to taking out the top team in D2, Grand Rapids Christian. The Eagles are the two-time defending champions. That match will take place at Three Rivers at 6 p.m. and can be viewed through MHSAA.tv.
Division 3 - Bronson
It didn't take too long for the Bronson Vikings to return to this portion of the postseason. The Vikings failed to reach the State Quarterfinals last season after going on a four-peat run from 2015 to 2018. Bronson entered the postseason at an honorable mention in the Michigan Volleyball Coaches Association rankings and not losing a game in their four matches so far. Like Edwardsburg, the Vikings draw the defending state champs in Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central. The Kestels are looking to return to Kellogg Arena for the third straight season, but Bronson has eliminated MSMCC in 2017 and in the State title game in 2015.
This State Quarterfinal will take place at Whitmore Lake at 6 p.m. and also streamed through MHSAA.tv.
Division 3 - Schoolcraft
Another Division 3 powerhouse that is still in action are the Schoolcraft Eagles, who fell to Monroe St. Mary's last year in the Final at Kellogg Arena. The Purple and Gold are ranked #2 in D3 and are seeking their second state title in the sport with the other in 2008. The Eagles have not been challenged in this year's run, going 15-0 through five matches.
Schoolcraft will get the Squires of Grandville Calvin Christian in their State Quarterfinal. The Eagles also get the benefit of a semi-home game, travelling just up to Kalamazoo to play at Loy Norrix. The match is at 7 p.m. and will be stream through MHSAA.tv.
Division 4 - St. Philip
Could this be the return to dominance for the St. Philip Fighting Tigers? St. Philip is making their first trip to the State Quarterfinals since 2017 and looking to return "home" for the first time since 2015. The Tigers are the most successful school in volleyball with 20 titles and 29 total appearances in the finals. This season, the Tigers entered the playoffs as an honorable mention in the state rankings and defeated 7th ranked New Buffalo in the Regional Semifinals to continue their title quest.
The state title is up for grabs as the two-time defending champion Mendon fell in Districts to Athens in five games and two-time defending runner-up Leland was forced out of Regionals due to COVID issues. The Tigers will see the Lansing Christian Pilgrims in the State Quarterfinals, who are ranked 5th in Division 4. That match is at The Igloo at Portage Northern and will be streamed through the Lansing Herald's Twitch page.
One other area school that was expected to return to action in Division 1 was Portage Central, who was forced to end their season due to a positive COVID test from one of their student-athletes last week. The student is asymptomatic. Their opponent, Lowell, has advanced to the State Semifinals at Kellogg Arena.