Battle Creek — Southfield Christian coach Mike Van Dyke had reason to be optimistic about the future following his team’s 25-18, 25-15, 25-13 Division 4 state semifinal loss to No. 2 Mendon on Friday at Kellogg Arena.
After all, it was Southfield Christian’s first Final Four appearance. And, Van Dyke knows the bulk of his team will return next year to try to make a repeat visit to the Cereal City to win the state title.
“It was a tough loss, but looking at our overall school history this was the first time we’ve ever made it to the Final Four so you have to look at the positive side," said Van Dyke. "We have one senior so we’re basically going to be returning everybody next year.
"It’s a great motivator. They’ve been here and they want to return."
Mendon did an excellent job of serving (eight aces) and hitting (.333).
Mendon will make its first trip the championship match since 2001, when it won its third Class D state title in a four-year span.
Anna Smith, a 5-foot-9 sophomore outside hitter, had 20 kills, nine digs and a .390 hitting percentage to lead Mendon (48-6-3) which will play top-ranked Leland in Saturday's 10 a.m. final.
Leland earned a 25-21, 25-14, 25-16 sweep of No. 9 Carney-Nadeau (26-4-1).
“This is what we’ve worked for the whole entire year and it’s kind of unreal that it’s actually happening,” said Mendon senior setter Aubrey Crotser, who had 31 assists. “I’m super proud of everyone. We just came together super well.”
Junior outside hitter Emily Van Dyke had 13 kills and seven digs with a .306 hitting percentage for No. 4 Southfield Christian (27-10-3), which hit just .063 as a team.
In the Leland-Carney Nadeau semifinal, senior Hannah Elwell had 17 kills and an outstanding .441 hitting percentage for Leland, which hit just .198 as a team but had 15 aces, including five by Ella Siddall.
“I think I felt more calm today than any other postseason game,” Elwell said. “It was real exciting for me. I had some nerves coming in, but they all went away when the first ball went over. I had a lot of fun.”
Leland will try to win its first state championship since 2015.
Grand Rapids Christian def. Lake Odessa Lakewood, 25-14, 25-20, 25-14
Pontiac Notre Dame Prep def. Corunna, 25-9, 25-14, 25-17
Final: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Unionville-Sebewaing def. Traverse City St. Francis, 25-15, 26-24, 19-25, 25-21
Bronson def. Monroe St. Mary CC, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 25-18, 15-4
Final: Saturday, noon
Mendon def. Southfield Christian, 25-18, 25-15, 25-13
Leland def. Carney-Nadeau, 25-21, 25-14, 25-16
Final: Saturday, 10 a.m.
Lake Orion def. Farmington Hills Mercy, 20-25, 25-18, 25-27, 25-20, 15-13
Rockford def. Northville, 25-13, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21
Final: Saturday, 2 p.m.