Buchanan, Cassopolis fall in D3 volleyball district semifinals

Published 12:53 pm Thursday, November 4, 2021

BRIDGMAN — The semifinal round of Division 3 volleyball districts at Bridgman High School did not go as planned for Buchanan and Cassopolis.

The Bucks fell to Watervliet 22-25,16-25,25-22,25-21 and Cassopolis to Bridgman 17-25,25-22,25-15,25-16.

For Buchanan, Josie West had 10 kills and 15 digs, and Faith Carson and Alexa Burns tallied eight kills apiece while Alyssa Carson added five. Alycia Hickok finished with 20 digs and 31 assists and Alea Fisher totaled 15 digs and four aces and Hailey Jonatzke added 15 digs.

“I thought we let our emotions get the best of us tonight,” said Buchanan Coach Shelley Bossert. “We’re better than that. We beat ourselves. We haven’t played like that all year. We struggled to get momentum.”

After falling into a 7-1 hole to start set one and a 20-8 deficit to start set two, the Bucks were able to regroup and take set three before falling in set four.

“We’re always a family, and I think that they’ve played like that all year,” Bossert said. “They just continue to fight and continue to fight and some things just didn’t go our way. We’ve really never been down all year, and  I think they had trouble responding to being down.”

The Bucks finished the season with a 36-7 record and a Berrien Cass St. Joseph League championship. For Bossert, the leadership her team demonstrated is what she will remember most.

“I love this group of girls,” she said. “They’re good kids, and they work hard for what we want. We won the conference, we’re 36-7. I mean, you can’t really ask for a better season. Obviously, this is not how we wanted it to end, but you never want your season to end.”

The Cassopolis Rangers responded after a disappointing first set to steal set two from the Bees, but the hitting of Takiya Cornelius and her fellow Bees proved too much for the Rangers to handle in sets three and four.

“We played them before, so we knew who we were up against,” said Cassopolis Coach Kaisha Martin. “We fell short executing a blocker. [Takiya Cornelius] was the main one we were looking for, but we played our hearts out.”

Zaniya Dodd totaled nine kills, six blocks and two digs. Jadin Wolfe had seven kills, two digs, two blocks and one assist, while Atyanna Alford four kills, 10 digs, one block and one ace. Rylie Burks tallied four kills, 21 assists and nine digs, and Quianna Murray and Ella Smith had 12 and seven digs, respectively. Listte Tilk tallied two aces, two kills and four digs.

Martin was impressed with the way her team battled against the Bees.

“Everybody stepped up,” she said. “I had Zaniya Dodd. I had Jadin [Wolfe]. I have Riley [Burks]. I have Lisette [Tilk]. All of them stepped up to the plate and everybody did what they were supposed to do. We just didn’t come together fully.”

The Rangers end their season with a 7-2 record and graduate four seniors in Derria McNeal, Tilk, Dodd and Wolfe. Martin said she will always remember this team’s determination.

“They never gave up,” Martin said. “Everybody doubts us because we’re Cassopolis, and we’re a small team. One thing we experienced this year was that we had officials come up and say this was the best season that they’ve seen from Cassopolis. We let them know that we are coming to play. Don’t ever doubt us because we’re small, because we pack a powerful punch.”