Eddies’ season ends in state quarterfinals

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, November 15, 2023

CHARLOTTE — The Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 quarterfinal at Charlotte Hight School Tuesday night was a mirror of the Edwardsburg volleyball team’s entire season.

The Eddies got off to a slow start this season, dropping an early Wolverine Conference match, but battling back to claim a share of the league championship.

In the quarterfinals against No. 2-ranked Grand Rapids Christian, Edwardsburg started off slowly before finding its rhythm late in the second set. From there it was a battle with the Eagles.

In the end, the Eddies would fall to Grand Rapids Christian 25-15, 25-23 and 26-24.

“GR Christian brought a balanced offense, with strong setters that were also an offensive threat,” said Edwardsburg Coach Sarah Strefling. “We started slower than I would have liked, but once we settled in we gave them a match. Obviously, we came out on the short end of things, but I couldn’t be more proud of this group of 14 athletes, led by five amazing seniors.”

Some unforced errors and serving issues early on allowed the Eagles to put together runs of multiple points, which kept the Eddies on its heels.

Down 1-0, Grand Rapids Christian started the second set in similar fashion, but down 20-14, Strefling called Edwardsburg’s second and final time out of the set.

The Eddies would cut the Eagles’ lead to five points, 22-17, only to have Christian go on another run, which let it a point away from a 2-0 lead in the best-of-three match.

Edwardsburg would go on a run of its own, outscoring the Eagles 5-1, but unfortunately, that one point gave Christian a 25-23 victory and a 2-0 advantage.

Despite the loss, the Eddies had seized the momentum in the match.

Edwardsburg dominated the Eagles early in the third set as it opened up a 13-9 advantage. Grand Rapids Christian came roaring back, tying the set at 14-14. The Eagles and Eddies would trade leads all the way up to 20-20.

Christian would take a 24-22 lead only to have Edwardsburg rally to tie the set at 24-24. The Eagles would not be denied on this night, scoring the final two points to complete the sweep.

With the victory, Grand Rapids Christian advances to the Division 2 semifinals on Thursday at the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek against defending state champion North Branch.

Edwardsburg ends its season with a 27-11-4 record. And despite the loss, Strefling said she is proud of this team’s accomplishments and the support it has received this year.

“The Eddies had an amazing send off to this memorable night,” she said. “We are so blessed to be a part of an amazing community and volleyball community.”

Drew Glaser led the Eddies with 15 kills and three digs. Sarah Pippin finished with 10 kills and five digs, while Lexi Schimpa had 29 assists, five digs and a kill. Danni Purlee had a team-high 10 digs and a pair of aces. Ella Laskowski finished the night with four kills, a dig and a block.