Brandywine falls in district finalsPublished 10:42am Sunday, November 10, 2013
BRIDGMAN — When all was said and done in the Class C District volleyball championship match, it came down to one simple fact Saturday night: experience.
New Buffalo was playing with four seniors and a junior in its starting lineup, while Brandywine was playing six sophomores.
The Bison (36-6-5) were able to draw on that experience to win the championship with a 3-1 win over the Bobcats. New Buffalo defeated Brandywine 25-10, 23-25, 25-18 and 25-17 to take home the trophy.
The Bison will now face Schoolcraft Tuesday in the regional semifinals, which is being hosted by the Eagles.
Falling behind early is nothing new for the Bobcats, who finish the year 19-18-1. The final three sets of the match were more indicative of how Brandywine has played all year long.
“We are slow starters,” Brandywine coach Carl Gruelich said. “So the real match was the last three games and their experience really came through. They kept us off balance with quick sets, especially in the last game.”
In the Bobcats’ only win, sophomores Sydney Carlson and Olivia DePriest came up big at the net. Carlson, who had several key kills, also served up a couple of aces to help Brandywine come away with the victory to square the match.
From that point on, it was New Buffalo’s Jade Madison and Ashli Drewes who dominated the match and led the Bison to the victory.
“Jade is a heckuva player,” Gruelich said. “She deserves to be a district champion.”
Despite the loss, Brandywine has plenty to be excited about in the future.
The Bobcats have four juniors and seven sophomores on the roster. Brandywine played the entire district tournament without junior captain Brooke Smith, who suffered a knee injury in warm-ups Monday night.
“I said, ‘you stand out here and you watch them take that trophy because that’s where you’ll be next year and the year after that,’” Gruelich said. “For six sophomores being out there on the floor and playing as well as they played, I thought we did a real good job. I am proud of them. They got better and better all year and that’s what you want them to do.”
Class C District Final
New Buffalo d. Brandywine 3-1
Sydney Carlson 9, Olivia DePriest 6; Michaela Hartline 6
Emily Erwin 24
Maranda Smallmon 2, Abby Cole 2
Cole 18, Carlson 10
New Buffalo 35-6-5, Brandywine 19-18-1