St. Philip Prevails in State Finals, State Record Extends
In the first of four matches in downtown Battle Creek to end the long 2020 Michigan High School Athletic Association's Girls Volleyball season, the Tigers needed all five games to top the Auburn Hills Oakland Christian Lancers in the Division 4 championship, winning 3-2.
The opener was dominated by STP in a 25-8 rout. After taking a 10-7 lead, the Tigers went on a 12-0 run all started by a service error by the Lancers. Junior outside hitter Brooke Dzwik had seven kills in Game 1 and St. Philip benefitted from eight Lancer errors.
The momentum continued into Game 2 as the Tigers ran out to a 11-3 start. A 3-0 and 4-0 run continued to stretch the lead as St. Philip would prevail 25-15. Middle hitters, senior Harleen Deol and sophomore Maddie Hoelscher, added to the Red and White attack with four and two kills, respectively. Dzwik continued to strike for eight more kills and an ace.
With the possible end in sight, the Lancers would see their spikes fall in from senior Kaylee Page, and juniors Anna Frazee and Kylie Morga. Oakland Christian bookended a set of runs in the beginning and end to get Game 3 25-22. Deol and Dzwik continued to keep the Tigers in the game, but a few miscues on spike attempts failed.
Oakland Christian continued their momentum into the fourth game, opening with a 6-2 lead. St. Philip charged back behind four kills and an ace from Dzwik, tagged in the end with junior setter Alexis Snyder getting a point to pull even 9-9. Page began to pull the Lancers ahead with five kills in a 25-22 Game 4, forcing the decisive finale.
The first team to 15 and win by two decides the match and the two teams traded points for the whole game. St. Philip reached 15 but needed an extra point to win. Dzwik missed on a spike to make it 15-15. The lone Tiger senior Deol will earn a kill for STP's second match point. Morga's spike for Oakland would miss to give St. Philip the 17-15 edge.
The D4 State title for St. Philip stretches their state record for championships in the sport to 21. For head coach Vicky Groat, the championship becomes her 14th in her career (11 as coach, three as a player for late head coach-mother Sheila Guerrera). The Tigers also bring home their first state title since 2014.
Dzwik, a first-team All-State in D4, finished with 37 kills and executing on 23 percent of her kill attempts. She also had two service aces. Deol finished with 16 kills. Freshman Rylee Altman also had two service aces.