‘Rocks, Bears meet in finals

Published 8:52 am Friday, November 7, 2008

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Dowagiac Daily News
EDWARDSBURG – It took just three sets for both St. Joseph and Berrien Springs to advance to the Class B District Volleyball semifinals at Edwardsburg High School on Thursday night.
It was a far cry from the opening night of the tournament it took nearly two hours to complete one match.
Buchanan ended up on the short end of a 25-21, 25-21 and 25-19 decision against the Lady Bears, while the Lady Shamrocks eliminated host Edwardsburg 25-22, 25-11 and 25-21.
St. Joseph…3
The Buchanan-St. Joseph match was more like a war than a volleyball match as both teams loaded up with their best hitters and took turns firing shots at the other side.
In the end however, it was too much of St. Joseph's Dakota Brock and Melanie Merchant for the Lady Bucks.
"Dakota's been our go-to girl all year long," St. Joseph coach Tessa Wolf said. "She's a senior and she just leads the team verbally and stat-wise. She's an all-around awesome player and we're going to miss her next year."
Brock finished the night with 17 kills and Merchant 10, while the two also combined for five aces.
Buchanan was in each and every set, but just couldn't stave off a St. Joseph run at the end of them.
"We just couldn't finish it," Buchanan coach Lisa Holok noted. "Our confidence died down at the end."
Senior Courtney Miller finished with nine kills, 18 digs and a pair of blocks to spearhead the Lady Bucks' attack.
Buchanan (33-13) also got eight kills and five digs from freshman Audrey Oake. Senior Anna Callahan had a big night with eight kills, six blocks and four digs.
Alexis Lenox finished with 28 assists and 14 digs.
"I'm extremely proud of my team this season," Holok said. "We pulled out some big wins and were very successful throughout the year. I'm sad that it all had to come to an end tonight.
"I have really enjoyed watching these four seniors grow over the years and turn into wonderful athletes and leaders. St. Joe played very tough tonight and unfortunately we couldn't finish games one and two when were up," she added.
Besides Miller and Callahan, the Lady Bucks are also losing Jayme O'Bryant and Taylor Henry to graduation.
Berrien Springs…3
Berrien Springs and Edwardsburg were no strangers to each other as members of the Lakeland Conference.
The two teams met twice during the regular season with the Lady Shamrocks taking both matches in four sets.
On Thursday night, however, Edwardsburg could not match the emotion and intensity of Berrien Springs.
"I don't think we showed up right from the start," Edwardsburg coach Sarah Cichowicz said. "In the first game we competed at times, but it wasn't who was here on Tuesday (an emotional three set victory over Dowagiac). That's what we've been struggling with all year. I've got an inexperienced team and they don't know how to play steady yet."
The Lady Eddies did play with emotion and desire during the third and final set, but couldn't maintain it after grabbing a brief lead.
The Lady Shamrocks scored 14 out of the next 17 points to open up an 18-9 advantage, which they eventually turned into a victory.
Allison Zandarski was the big gun for Berrien Springs with 13 kills and a pair of blocks.
"She really showed up tonight and when she shows up, we're hard to beat," Berrien coach Katie Garber said. "She's a great player who owns the net."
The Lady Shamrocks also got six kills from Autumn Nelson.
Elise Mackling's six kills led Edwardsburg, while Emily Kozinski added three kills.
Ellen Miller had a pair of blocks for the Lady Eddies, who also got a pair of aces from Maddi Mueller and nine assists from both Amelia Breslin and Jenn Mackling.
The Lady Shamrocks Springs (32-9-3) and Lady Bears (27-19-4) will now play for the district championship on Saturday at 10 a.m.